Maternity leave

Well here I am, 38 weeks pregnant. It seems crazy that I’ve made it this far, that there is a real and proper person inside of me rather than a funny little alien thing! Because there is definitely a person inside me and I’m pretty sure it thinks the way to get out is to kick its way through my ribs!

It’s been so long since I updated my blog. Mostly because I’ve been so busy. The last 6 weeks or so of work were so incredibly busy that I kept thinking “I’ll update the blog when I’m on maternity leave”. I’ve now been on maternity leave for nearly 4 weeks (I had a load of annual leave to use up so have had a nice long lead up to D-Day) and I feel like I’ve been even busier!

For some reason we thought it was a great idea to do a load of home improvements in the 2 months before I’m due. So since February we’ve replaced our boiler and all windows and doors, had our hallway redecorated, decorated the nursery (still not finished) and replaced some of our carpets! It’s been total chaos and there has been dust everywhere, which has driven me crazy. But we’re finally close to finishing and by the end of this weekend hope to have the house pretty much back to normal.

Although I’ve been off work, so in theory I should be able to do lots of jobs, being this pregnant is pretty debilitating. I’ve found it really frustrating how little I can get done each day before I have to have a 2 hour sit down to recover. This has not been helped by my slipping down a few of my uncarpeted stairs this week resulting in a massive purple bruise on my bum and a painful, swollen foot that I can’t really walk on. Grrr. I just want to finish everything so I can laze around and relax before the baby comes but can’t relax until everything is done!

People keep asking me if I’m nervous about the birth…and so far I haven’t been as I’ve been focused on getting everything done. But in the last few days where I’ve been forced to sit down more I’ve been thinking about not just the birth, but the actual part of having a baby.

Of course most of me is just incredibly excited by the idea that I will finally get to meet my baby. That I will hold him/her in my arms – the moment I’ve waited so long for. But I don’t think I’d be normal if I didn’t have my anxieties about it too – what if I’m a useless mother? What if I do something really wrong and hurt the baby? What if the baby is really sick? What if we get one that cries all the time and I can’t handle it?….What if I just hate motherhood? I’m pretty sure I won’t seeing as it’s all that every fibre in my being has wanted for the last 5 years, but there is that chance that I just bloody hate it!

It’s pretty scary times. But mostly just an amazing time. I do feel so incredibly lucky and despite the aches and pains of being pregnant I know I’ll also miss that a lot too. I’m not sure I’m ready to share my baby with the rest of the world. At the moment its just the 2 two of us really, and we both know what we’re doing, we’re both contented with where we are but its all about to change. And I already know I don’t know how much life will change! Fertiles must get really freaked out by this….imagine thinking about/wanting a baby for 1 or 2 months and then getting pregnant! In a crazy crazy way, although I obviously wish I hadn’t had the painful journey to get here, at least I’ll (hopefully) be a little more prepared for it – despite my fears and anxieties.

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Viability

I am now 24 (almost 25) weeks pregnant. This is a huge milestone for me. The whole way through this pregnancy I’ve been thinking “if I can just get past Christmas, if I can just get to 24 weeks it’ll mean I’m almost definitely having a baby”. And now it’s here. Of course there are still things that can go wrong but we’d be very very unlucky for that to happen…and surely I’ve had my fair share of bad luck?!

The other milestone was getting to Christmas, getting through Christmas without it being heart wrenchingly painful. Last year was just so awful that when we were booking our honeymoon to Sri Lanka (before shock BFP) we booked to fly on Christmas day to make sure we would avoid having to go through it all again. We cancelled the trip – 3 weeks backpacking around Sri Lanka at 5 months pregnant was not going to work – and instead actually enjoyed Christmas for the first time in years. I thought many times of my wonderful blog/twitter friends still struggling in the trenches of the hideous IF war over the Christmas period and hope it wasn’t too painful for you.

Now we’re past Christmas and well into the new year I’ve pulled my head out of the too-worried-to-plan sand of the first part of the pregnancy and headlong into oh-shit-there’s-so-much-to-do phase! I’m basically freaking out. About everything.

We’ve started looking into what type of pram we should get. Jesus. Christ. The choice is too much….the price is waaaay too much! I’ve spent hours and hours online going round and round in circles reading a million reviews for a million different prams, all of which have reviews saying “this is the best thing ever” next to ones that say “its evil and dangerous”. Asking friends doesn’t seem to help either, it just confuses the process even more.

The conflicting information is not just limited to prams either. I thought I should probably buy some books about babies and what to do with them as, whilst I know A LOT about getting pregnant, and even a bit now about being pregnant, I really know nothing about having an actual baby other than bits and pieces gleaned from my siblings and many, many friends that have kids. But even baby books are contentious and views on them conflicting. I’ve been told to read loads and pick the best bits from each one and to read none as they’ll just freak me out! And my goodness do people get het up about different people’s opinions to childrearing!!

Also, looking on all these sites, forums etc reminds me what bloody morons (most some) fertiles can be. Seriously, they make me want to stab myself in the eye. Which is probably recommended and disapproved of in a forum somewhere.

So any advice on baby books/prams/anything else I might need is welcome!

For those still struggling, I hope so much that 2015 brings you happiness, in whatever form that comes in xxxx

Livin on a Prayer

“Woahhhhhhh we’re half way there, WAAAAOOOHHHHHHH HOOOO livin on a prayer!”

This is my way of saying, I’ve hit 20 weeks! Half way. Would you Adam and Eve it?*

I’m actually in a state of disbelief that I’ve got this far. 20 weeks. I’m now officially out of the danger zone and into the ‘holy crap I’m pregnant’ zone. Last Saturday DH and I went for a private scan just to check out how the little monkey was getting on.

Wow. There has been an awful lot of growing going on. The private clinic (I say ‘clinic’ it was actually a weird little room with an ultrasound machine in it, but it did the job) used a 4D scanner so we were able to see the baby actually moving around. The last time we saw a 4D scan was at 11 weeks, just before the wedding and frankly it looked like a Nik Nak. But this time…..there’s an actual baby in there! He/she was wriggling around so much, constantly moving and rubbing its eyes, sucking its fingers. It was just incredible. I wish I could have one of those machines at home, I’d be watching all day. After about 10 minutes or so of us ohhing and ahhing monkey had obviously had enough of putting on a show, turned round and showed us its bum and wouldn’t turn back again. Ha! We get the message!

“Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, WAAAAOOOHHHHHHH HOOOO livin on a prayer!”

Well this week, we feel less like we’re ‘livin on a prayer’ and a lot more like we’re going to make it. The scan has made us feel so much more confident in the pregnancy, and to add to that I’m now feeling movement every day which is such a reassurance.

We’ve started planning things. We’ve talked about names, and not even in a whisper but right out loud.

We’re going to have a baby.

This hit me yesterday when stood in my kitchen and I sobbed happy, happy tears. The whole time I’ve been pregnant I haven’t let myself go and properly cried or been overly happy about it because I’ve always been waiting for it to end. Enough now. It’s time to enjoy this.

 

* Sorry, not sure what’s wrong with me I’m a bit hyper today but really no excuse for going all mockney on you, on top of a Bon Jovi reference. For my non-British readers ‘mockney’ is the use of cockney phrases/accent when you’re really not a cockney. Whilst I do have a saaaaaafff (south!) east London accent, I’m definitely not a cockney!

The Club

I started this post 2 weeks ago and have been so busy with work and annoying things breaking (guttering, boiler, washing machine – the joys!) that I didn’t have time to finish it off and post it…..

Whilst last week was physically challenging with the occurrence of lightening cooch, this week has been emotionally challenging. On Sunday I went to my friend’s baby shower. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to one, and the last few I did go to reduced me to crying in the loos and sobbing on the sofa when I got home. I hadn’t really thought too much about it but before leaving I felt really anxious all of a sudden…was I really ready to be a room with all those mothers?

It turns out, I was not! I’ve always been quite a gobby person and whilst not over confident, and can be shy in many situations, I usually feel fairly comfortable…and able to fake it if not. But at the baby shower I just felt like I wanted the ground to swallow me up. All those mothers clucking away, making flippant comments about having babies. Whilst the comments and conversations did not cut as deeply as they would have done a few months ago, they still made me flinch. I had forgotten how much fertiles take it all for granted and all I could think of was my lovely twitter/blog friends that are still in the trenches of IF. I just sat there dumbstruck, not joining in, hardly talking. I just wanted out of there. I got home and cried on my sofa.

Then on Tuesday I started a pregnancy yoga class. I got lost on the way there, and was late and so again I was not really thinking about what the actual class would entail. I walked into a room of about 15 pregnant women deep breathing, and felt I’d had the breath knocked out of me. I was by far the ‘least pregnant’ of all these women and I just felt so out of place, like I didn’t belong there.

The teacher talked a lot about ‘your baby’ and breathing techniques/positions for birth…which makes perfect sense for a pregnancy yoga class. I don’t know why I hadn’t realised it would be like that, I guess I just thought it would be like a normal class but without postures that could be dangerous. Then for the last 15 mins of the class a former member of the group came in with her baby and talked about her ‘birth story’!! What the holy fuck?!

I guess I’ve just spent so long trying to get into this club that now I’m in it I feel like a fraud and that any day now someone is going to notice and revoke my membership in a hideous and bloody way. I feel like I need stay on the fringes and not get too used to being here.

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So, now it’s a few weeks on and I went again to the pregnancy yoga class, which was a little less scary as I knew what to expect, and I felt less out of place. Maybe this is due to the huge amount my belly has grown! I’m feeling less nervous and more calm. I’m smiling more. I’m starting to allow myself to think about the future – the good version.

I think there are a few reasons for this, firstly being that I’m now 18 weeks and heading out of the Danger zone with each day. I know it could still go wrong, but in my mind if I can make it past 20 weeks it’s more likely that this pregnancy will not be like my sister’s. I have been reassured in the last few weeks with a midwife appointment and an obstetrician appointment, during both of which we heard a lovely strong heartbeat. I’m in love with that noise.

I was sent to see the obstetrician because of my sister’s history but after an hour and half waiting to see him he seemed rather puzzled as to why I was there….he kept saying “but you haven’t had any miscarriages, so I’m not sure what the risk factor is”. No mate, I haven’t had any miscarriages. But I’ve also never been pregnant so we’ve really got no idea what’s going to happen here do we, and after years and years of TTC and 4 rounds of failed IVF lets just keep an eye on it eh?!! Anyway, he’s sending me for bloods, I don’t think either of us are sure why but at least it keeps us all busy!

The final reassurance I’ve had is I think I’ve started to feel some movement…I’m not totally sure but every few days I get a funny bubbly feeling and I don’t think its wind. I like it. I want lots more please.

Finally, on Saturday I’ve got a private scan booked to see the little monkey, before having the NHS one at 20 weeks. At the moment I’m feeling calm about it and looking forward to it…I’m sure I’ll be a crazy mess of worry by Friday though!

The Danger Zone

Somehow, I’m now 15 and a half weeks pregnant. This has gone both ridiculously quickly and torturously slowly. Sunday started my 15th week with scary dull stabby pains in my left ovary area, accompanied by even scarier very sharp shooting pains down into my ..a-hem…well, clitoris/urethra (a sensation DH has since named ‘lightening cooch’).

This was understandably scary but after lots of googling/tweeting I’d tried to calm myself into realising that there’s  a lot of growing going on in there, and some of its bound to hurt a bit. The ovary pain had stopped by Monday but I still had ‘lightening cooch’ and thought it might be a urinary infection so went to the GP on Tuesday morning. The GP dipped a stick in my wee (I could fill a bath with sticks that have been dipped in my wee…although probably wouldn’t use my bath) and said I didn’t have a urinary infection as far as he could see but he’d send it off for culture. When I pressed him a bit on what exactly was causing lightening cooch then he was vague, made me lie down and pressed my tummy, said ‘hmmm’ a lot and gave me no answer.

So feeling slightly panicky, I drove home….hitting a parked car on the way. Awesome. It wasn’t exactly a ‘car crash’ as I was going about 5 miles an hour but I still managed to crunch their bumper and cause a general faff that these things cause. Ugh.

I got home and attempted to find a midwife to talk to. I haven’t yet had my first midwife appointment (its next week) so I called the hospital where I had my ‘booking in’ appointment. The receptionist told me that if I was really worried I should go to A&E as I was ‘too pregnant’ to go to the EPU. Helpful. With a rather wobbly voice I told her I actually just wanted to speak to someone. She gave me a number for a midwife assessment line. Perfect you might think. I called them and they said they only treat people who are over 20 weeks, but told me everything was ‘probably ok’.

Brilliant. So basically if you’re between 12 and 20 weeks you’re on your own – it’s A&E or nothing. And I didn’t think I was having a miscarriage right at that time, I was pretty sure it wasn’t the time to go and sit in A&E for 5 hours to have a Dr that knows very little about antenatal medicine prod me. But…I just wanted someone to say “ohhh lightening cooch, yes pregnant women get this all the time” or “hmmmm lightening cooch, never heard of that, could be worrying you should definitely go to A&E now”.

But they didn’t. So I sat on my sofa and sobbed. Then I called my mum and sobbed. By the time DH called me to see how it went at the Drs I was pretty much hysterical. He left work and came home. Bless him, I’m such a crazy person. Although, in my defence he worries probably more than me, so think him leaving work was as much due to his hysteria as mine.

Now you might think that this is all rather an over reaction to a few cramps and some shooting pains, and I should just stop bloody moaning because, I’m pregnant so what else really matters? And you’d probably be right. But right now I consider myself to be in ‘The Danger Zone’.* For most people, once they get past the 12 week mark they can relax. They’re obviously still nervous but the grip of fear and constant knicker-watch has lessened.

For me, hitting 15 weeks has ramped up my paranoia. Of course I was worried before, and hitting my second trimester was certainly a great feeling. But up until then I had, apart from the odd wobble, been relatively calm. But now I’m in the danger zone – my sister lost 5 babies between 16 and 20 weeks. At the time I was absolutely devastated for her, but now being 15 weeks pregnant I have so much more a realisation of just how horrific this would have been for her than my care-free early 20’s self did. And I’m so incredibly scared it will happen to me.

That’s not to say that I’m not still happy and excited and ever so slowly starting to think about this actually working out. I’ve even noticed DH and I starting to say ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. It’s just any sign of something slightly amiss sets off the dark thoughts and blind panic.

I’m hoping very much that my sister and I just have very different types of fertility issues – she could literally pick the right day of the month to have sex on and she would get pregnant, every time. Since it’s taken me 3.5 years, 4 rounds of IVF and a miracle conception to get this far, it’s got to be ok now….doesn’t it?

 

* Weeeelll-coooooomme tooooo the danger zone  …have been singing this all day. Now you are. You’re welcome. If you’re not, you’re too young to be reading my blog.Tom+Cruise+Top+Gun

One week

Today is one week until my wedding – ONE WEEK!! I am, of course, ridiculously excited. We booked the wedding a year ago. After 11 years together and 4 years of engagement we’d been putting off the wedding due to infertility, but after our second failed IVF cycle in September last year we just knew we couldn’t wait any longer. Even though it was a totally impractical time to have a wedding – we’d either soon need the money for further IVF rounds or a baby, we just wanted to be married.

Two more failed cycles and a freak natural pregnancy later and the big day is almost here: I’m so close to my wildest dreams coming true. On my wedding day I will be 11 and a half weeks pregnant and we will announce our pregnancy to our friends and family at the drinks reception after the marriage ceremony.

Hopefully…..

Tomorrow I have booked a ‘reassurance scan’ at a private clinic to check that all is ok. And I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified. We had a scan at 5 weeks and all was fine. We had a scan at 7 weeks and all was fine but…..our plan is so perfect. Our wedding day would be such a fairy tale dream….how can it go right? After so many disappointments and failures it seems so unreal that this could be our happy ending. I’ve been feeling less and less nauseated this week and I’m so scared its because something is wrong – my boobs hurt less too. I’m hoping this is just my symptoms lessening as my first trimester comes to an end but….ugh. Scared. It would just be so so crushingly awful for it to go wrong now, 5 days before our wedding day. I honestly don’t know how I’d cope.

I was speaking to a wonderful twitter friend recently about our fears – she is 30 odd weeks pregnant and still has the fear – and she said we’re traumatised. And we are. After so much pain and hurt and it all just turning to shit every time it’s so hard to believe it can work out. That I could get the fairy tale.

In the words of Julia Roberts in one of my all time favourite films*: “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

 

*Pretty Woman, obvs. If you can’t quote the entire script of this film, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.

Busy

So it’s been quite a while since I last posted and there are a load of reasons why….there’s 2 weeks left until my wedding and I’m crazy busy with arrangements, work is mental, and I’m so god damn tired in the evenings. But mainly I think it’s probably because I don’t really know what to write…..what do you write in an infertility blog once you get pregs?

I could moan about symptoms, but I won’t. I could bang on about how worried I am but that’s pretty obvious. I could tell you how stupidly lucky I feel blah blah but none of you want to hear that really!

So….guess I’ll tell you what’s been happening in my life. A few weeks ago I had a follow up scan (at 7 weeks) after I’d had the scan at 5 weeks after I’d had some bleeding. I was so scared waiting for the scan I burst into tears in the waiting room. But I had the scan and there it was – a little bean with a tiny little heartbeat. The nurse had to ask me to stop crying because I was shaking the ‘wand’ too much. She had to give DH tissues as he was sobbing harder than me.

No more bleeding so far. I’ve booked a private scan for a few days before my wedding to check all is ok as my ‘official’ NHS scan isn’t until after the wedding and I really need to know all is ok. On my wedding day I’ll be 11.5 weeks and (all being well) we will ‘announce’ after the ceremony. Oussssccch. It still all seems rather unlikely and unreal.

Glamping

Our yurts

Other than that life has been pretty hectic – so many last minute arrangements for the wedding. And of course I had my hen do. It was a lot of fun, although rather more civilised than it might have been a few months ago. I think I managed to get away with ‘fake’ drinking and none of my friends guessed – or if they did they didn’t say anything. We went ‘glamping’ which was so much fun, and made it easy to tip out the glasses of Prosecco onto the grass and drink from a wine bottle filled up with juice. Did have a few close shaves – at one point we were playing a drinking game and my sister accidentally filled up my glass from a normal wine bottle so when I got the question wrong I got a mouthful of wine. Then later in the night one of the girls found my ‘fake’ wine and topped up her glass with it! Luckily she was pretty drunk by then so just kept saying ‘this wine is weird – so sweet’ but still don’t think she clocked on!!

My cosy bed

My cosy bed

As a side note, if you’ve not been glamping you should go! I had a proper bed, with an electric blanket!! I’m never going normal camping again!!

I’ve got another hen do tomorrow night with family members from both sides, as well as some friends that couldn’t make it glamping. We’re going for dinner in a place that turns into a club later and to be honest I’m kind of dreading it. My poor maid of honour booked it all months ago and has been wonderful at making last minute modifications for me and I don’t have the heart to tell her that the idea of dancing around until at least midnight (about the earliest I think I can get away with leaving!!) is really the last thing I want to do! I’m in bed by 9.30pm most nights at the moment but I’m sure it’ll be fine once I get going…won’t it?!