‘Mothering’ Sunday

‘Mothering’ Sunday

I haven’t blogged in a long time. In fact, I didn’t ever finish writing the birth story. Or our struggle with feeding.  It’s all a bit hazy now and feels a lifetime ago.  I think that’s why people go on to have 1 or 2+ children more…

But I find myself tonight with the urge to blog. Mothering Sunday and its imminence has made me feel the need.

Felicity is now 7 and a half months old. Still I really struggle with the term ‘mother’. I find it so hard to believe that this girl of perfection is my daughter.  When people cuddle Flic and hand her back to me, saying ‘go to your mum’, I find myself thinking ‘Oh yes, that’s me.  I’m her MUM!’ I worry everyday that I’m not doing her justice as her mother, that I’m not doing enough ‘stuff’ with her and that I’m not good enough. I think that’s pretty normal and that they call that ‘Mum Guilt’.  It’s worst on the days I feel most sleep deprived and deranged. I still feel that someone will knock on the door one day and say “Look, you’ve had your fun being her mum, hand her back now.” I know that sounds ridiculous but I think it’s just a hangover from waiting and struggling to become pregnant and have a child.

So, this Sunday is Mothering Sunday. A day I’ve avoided like the plague for the last 6 years +. I’ve no idea how I’m going to feel come Sunday.  Part of me doesn’t want to celebrate it as it doesn’t seem fair to ‘go to the other side’ and celebrate becoming a mum when others are still struggling to become mothers or have lost their mums. Another part of me wants to really celebrate the fact that Felicity is here with us and part of our family at long last.

So, how it’s actually going being a ‘Mother’??:

Felicity is 7.5 months old.  She’s fantastic and brings so much joy to our lives.  She’s such a happy little girl and is so smiley and funny. Her character is really starting to show; she’s very headstrong and shows her preferences loud and clear!

She is now on solids (and has been a while) and LOVES her food.  We started off on baby rice and porridge and moved onto purees (fruit and veg). She hasn’t refused anything yet. She’s now eating finger foods too and likes melon, avocado, toast, scrambled eggs etc. and I love cooking stuff for her and watching her taste it.  The dogs are being very good hoovers after she has eaten too and particularly like cleaning up banana pancakes and cheese on toast! She’s still a big milk fan, although sometimes the world is way too interesting and she’d rather be watching/doing and then we end up with a Milk Emergency!

Flic can roll around and crawl backwards and loves her jumperoo and walker.  She is starting to go forwards in her walker (after initially only being able to go backwards!)  and finds the whole thing hilarious.  She loves watching (terrorising) the animals and loves stroking them (under supervision).

We both love going to baby yoga and on playdates with her baby friends. She also likes baby sensory classes and our walks round the park with the dogs.

Sleepwise, she had been doing roughly 6-6, but she’s a bit all over the place at the moment. She’s decided she would like to do an extra night feed (which she HAD dropped at 3-4 months old!) again.  She’s in her own room where she loves the space of the big cot but every now and then I bring her back into her cot in our room when she’s having a bad night to save me being up and down like a yoyo…last night she refused to go down in her own room so I put her back in the Next To Me and she did half 12 to half 6. Napwise, there is just no real routine.  She sleeps in the sling after her breakfast and when we are both dressed and has a longer nap sometimes after her dinner.  It depends on what we are doing. She normally has that nap on me or in the pushchair or the car if we are out. She doesn’t like to nap in the cot. If I manage to get her in the sling in time, I get stuff done. If not, I enjoy a snuggle and a bit of TV time. Baby snuggles are the best ❤

Some days I get tired and past it and cry.  Those days pass. It doesn’t mean I love her any less; it just means I am knackered and can’t see the wood for the trees.  Mothering is constant and there’s no such thing as Time Out.

But all in all, becoming a Mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me and such a privilege. I love watching Felicity growing and developing into such a wonderful little girl. But I will never forget ‘the struggle’.  It has made me who I am now, and most probably shaped me as a Mother.

Here are a few pictures of her taken during the last few months:

 

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So, do you know what you’re having?!

So, do you know what you’re having?!

pink blue

Sorry to those bloggers who have been following our little journey and think I’m about to reveal our baby’s gender. This post is actually just a nod towards those questions that get asked of pregnant people and the reaction that they’re invoking in me.

Of late, it’s becoming a little more obvious that I’m ‘with child’ and not just greedy around the pick n mix (although baby does have a bit of a sweet tooth). These following questions are mostly asked by people who have no idea of our journey to pregnancy – I have met a new group of people since becoming pregnant through a work ‘thing’ and also I hang out with a load of pregnant people every Thursday at aqua-natal class.

*Disclaimer  – if I know you IRL (in real life) and you have asked me any of these questions, it’s totally not a dig – it’s just an insight into how pregnancy and the associated conversations etc. make me feel. I have had to come up with a selection of automatic responses for my own good (and on occasion the person asking them 😉 )

Question: Do you know what you’re having? (Most commonly asked question)

Polite answer: No, not yet.

What I’m thinking? Do I look that fat that I’d know already (I’ve been asked this question since I was 14 weeks pregnant…) Oh my word, they think I’m further along than I actually am. I must stop eating.

Which obviously leads to:

Question: Are you going to find out?

Polite answer: Yes, we’re planning to, if they can tell at our 20 week scan

What I’m thinking? Are you kidding me?? Do you know how long we’ve been waiting for a baby – we’re DYING to know what we’re having!

Question: Do you not want a surprise? (sometimes followed by: If you don’t know what you’re having you’ll push harder) (WTF?!) – Not swearing Mum, that was What the Flip…

Polite answer: No, we want to know so we can plan for the baby

What I’m thinking: Do you know what? There’s been enough surprises along this journey for us already. The gender of the baby will be a surprise to us at 20 weeks, not 40 weeks – and that’s pretty much our choice.  And as for pushing – I can envisage that I’ll be pushing pretty damn hard to meet our little wriggle monkey, whether I know or don’t know its gender…

The surprise for us that we have now got far enough along in a pregnancy that a sonographer would be able to tell our baby’s gender.

Also, unisex baby clothing – yellow, beige or grey anyone??! I want to enjoy these few weeks of baby shopping because we’ve been waiting so long for it.  I want to get adorable newborn stuff that we’ve chosen together as after the baby is born, I can’t see hours of shopping leisurely for baby clothes happening – it’ll be a trolley dash job.

Question: Do you have any preferences?

Polite answer: (To be fair I’ve only been asked this once) No, we just want a healthy baby really.

What I’m thinking: (thought sarcastically) “If it’s not the gender I want, I’m going to be really cross and ask God to take him/her back”

I had to hold my tongue when asked this one.  Seriously.  No. We have no preferences.  God and the miracle of science has blessed us with the child we are meant to have.  And we’ll be over the moon with what loveliness that will be – boy or girl, pink or blue. I actually wanted to scream, “You don’t understand what it took to get this little life inside us – OF COURSE I HAVE NO PREFERENCES!!!!”

Question: Do you have any inklings?

Polite answer: I think it’s a boy. But I’m prepared to be wrong

What I’m thinking: Don’t tell me I’m wrong because I’m carrying low/high/ craving cake/ your Auntie’s best friend’s cousin’s next door neighbour was convinced it was a boy but it was a girl when it came out and she’d already decorated the nursery blue and bought all boy’s clothes. You asked if I had any inklings and I’ve just told you.

Question: Have you thought of any names?

Polite answer: We have a list to choose from when the time comes (thought internally: and no, I’m not telling you any of them)

What I’m thinking: Are you jesting with me? Have we thought of any names??? We have been writing down names for our baby(s) for the best part of 5 years and at this rate, our child is going to have 16 middle names. I actually have no idea how we’re going to whittle it down.

Question: Is this your first? (Only asked by strangers/people I don’t know that well)

Polite answer: Yes it is.

What I’m thinking: No, it’s not.  My first baby was born too soon and is in heaven looking down and smiling at her little family down here.  I’ll never forget her and how she helped us on our way. I would really love to tell you about her, but I know that if I do, I’ll make you feel really awkward. So, I’m going to lie for your benefit and say “Yes, it’s my first”.

 

Ellie <3

Ellie <3

angel

Today is Ellie’s due date.  Whilst I know that hardly any babies make an appearance on their actual due date, it’s the only date we’ve got, and we both intend to remember her on it.

I am quite aware that this date would have been A LOT harder to bear had I not been pregnant again by the time her due date rolled around.  Back in September I did wonder about waiting until after the due date before we commenced IVF2 and a little tiny bit of guilt about ‘replacing’ her does exist within me. But to me, our first baby is irreplaceable and holds a very, very special and unique place in my heart – and will continue to do so whether this pregnancy is ‘The One’ or not.

However, when I think of her these days, it’s often with a smile rather than tears.  I like to think of her as a ‘helper baby’ who helped us to get to where we are now.  She gave us a massive kick up the bottom in such a huge way.  Some of which I want to write about, and some which I don’t.

When we lost Ellie, it reinforced in me just how much I wanted to be a mum and make Husband a daddy.  I felt complete when I was housing her and when she left I felt so very empty.  After the initial grieving period was over, I had this massive urge within myself to do EVERYTHING possible (within my own power) to become pregnant again and stay that way.  I lost weight by eating mega mega healthily and exercised like a crazy person.  I took supplements, had post miscarriage counselling at the fertility clinic to get my mindset sorted. And so going into IVF2, I felt healthier than I had done in years, and not just physically. My mindset going into IVF2 was way better than it had been going into our first try. I was so much more calmer and relaxed about things and very much had a ‘if this is going to work, it’s going to work’ outlook on the whole thing.

The day I went to egg collection, (this is going to sound crazy but bear with…) we were walking into the building and I turned to my Husband and said “Ellie’s with us today, I can feel her.” That’s the last time I ‘felt’ her since losing her. But I felt her in such a lovely way. I really feel like she ‘egged’ (sorry..) our little embryos on that day and watched over them in the lab whilst they were growing.  She’s sent us some beautiful snow today on her due date and I think today we are going to go and play in the snow with the doggies and lay a rose in the memorial garden which is on a little walk nearby.

So, here we are 9 weeks and 1 day pregnant…and hopeful to stay this way.  Little mini-us has been making me very icky since about 6-7 weeks and I had about a week of hardly eating anything except cereal, warm brown wraps (?) and plain yoghurt at around 7-8 weeks pregnant.  I’m not so bad at the moment – I think I’m actually just used to the permanent nausea – I wake up and feel bleurgh and just eat through it. Cheerios and fruit and fibre in a morning seem to be doing the trick.  Plus a glass of prune juice for the other, erm, problem… There’s certain times of day I feel worse than others (first thing in the morning and evening is worst) and I seem to have a window between 11am and 3pm where I’m able to eat whatever so I’m taking advantage of it! I’ve put on a couple of lbs since being pregnant, taking me to 1lb under what I was when I started this IVF round.  (I somehow lost weight during this IVF cycle??) Keeping an eye on it and just trying not to eat too much rubbish and get some fruit and veg down me. If I get to trimester 2 this time, (here’s hoping!) I intend to start planning meals again and restart the exercise.  Right now, I have no idea what I actually want to eat from one moment to the next so I’m not doing a lot of meal planning!

I’m so very thankful for this pregnancy but still so terrified of it ending at any time.  I’m trying so hard not to think like that and just live day to day. I have no idea when I’ll start to feel any ‘safer’. Or if I even will.  I’m trying not to analyse things and trying to see pregnancy symptoms as fluctuating and not to be too scared when they come and go.  Last time that drove me bonkers. These extra scans are all helping with that this time.

Thursday we went for another scan for the IVF department.  They needed a viability report and couldn’t just connect with the EPU department who had been scanning me.  So we needed another scan – which isn’t a problem!! I really don’t mind the reassurance of all these scans.  At the scan, they dated me at 8 weeks 5 days.  The baby had changed loads in 1 week and 2 days – we could make out so much more.  Then we couldn’t believe our eyes when the baby started moving around! Wriggling and moving his arms – it was amazing and we both shed a tear. Just the fact that this little being is living within me and can move ALL BY ITSELF just blew my mind. IVF have now discharged me and I’m now under the local midwife (who I saw on Wednesday).

Here is the photo we got:

bob

Then two nights after the scan, I dreamt of our baby for the first time.  It was a strange dream.  I went for a scan and there was our little boy (I’ve been convinced it’s a boy pretty much since conception – but I could be wrong…) full term and fully dressed in the uterus. Like he was getting ready to make an appearance in the outside world (not for another 7 months, thank you very much little one…). We could see every detail of his face but we both decided he looked nothing like us. Then we had this massive panic that they’d put the wrong embryos back because he was so unlike either of us!  All very weird.

So, that’s all for now.  Have a lovely Sunday x x

The Blob

The Blob

Today we saw our baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  This was the scan booked by the EPU in December just to check everything was progressing nicely.

We went into the scanning room and I was asked to empty my bladder – they must have questioned my husband while I was at the toilet because when I got back, the sonographer and trainee were laughing at the speed I got myself ready for a scan – saying “We *thought* it must have been IVF!” Meaning IVFers can get their pants off way quicker than ‘normal’ pregnant ladies!

The trainee did the scan.  When she first, erm,  entered, she was all ‘there’s the left ovary’, and I was thinking – ‘smeg the ovaries, get to the baby already!’ She got to the uterus anyway and checked a few things before showing me and Husband our precious little baby.  We saw his/her heart beating and then they turned the screen away again and did the measuring and stuff and checking the ovaries before giving us another look at The Blob. The Blob measures at 7 weeks and 3 days.

Afterwards I went back upstairs to the EPU and spoke to a nurse.  They were happy that everything is progressing nicely but said I could have a quick scan in a couple of weeks for reassurance.  Because we lost Ellie sometime between 7.5 weeks and 12.2 weeks, I think it’ll help to see our little one again inbetween those two scans.  And if it’s not good news, and history repeats itself, I guess at least we won’t wait weeks to find that out…

So, here is the blob.  There’s really not too much to see, but seeing the little flickery heartbeat was pretty special :

the blob

 

HCG levels

HCG levels

This week has been a little stressful.  After a nurse put THE FEAR in me after the spotting/small bleed incident, she said that if she was me, she’d go to EPU and get everything checked out to be on safe side.

After burying my head in the sand for 24 hours, off I trotted to EPU on Wednesday morning.  Later that day my HCG levels came back at 353.

I obviously googled what was normal for being 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant…then wished I hadn’t.  But took it as a pinch of salt – plus the first number is just a starting point as far as I can see.

This morning I went back to see if they had doubled like they were supposed to in 48 hours.  They rang this dinnertime with the results. 1,020.  Which is more like a tripling…Happy to see such a rise and I cried with relief of getting over what feels like yet another hurdle.

Back on Sunday for another blood test and then will see where we’re at.  The spotting has more or less settled down (although I don’t like saying that out loud, because everytime I do, it starts back up again…)

One day at a time…

 

Man jumping over the hurdle

Two embryos on board! Welcome Holly and Frosty

Two embryos on board! Welcome Holly and Frosty

keep-calm-pray-and-hope-ivf-will-work

Today was embryo transfer day.  It was slightly less traumatic than last time but still uncomfortable.

We got there about half 12 for a 1.15pm transfer – but this ended up being more like a 2.30pm transfer – which isn’t that good when you need a wee (the process is carried out with a full bladder). .

But all that matters is that they’re in, where they belong.  I cried like a small child when they were passed down the catheter into my endometrium.  The embryologists et al probably thought I’d lost the plot. They printed us out a little picture too of the embryos in situ!

Now comes the hard bit – we wait!!! Trying to find some stuff to distract from the waiting.  I’ll probably test early again – but no harm in that…It’s just too tempting! In the meantime, we just take progesterone twice a day until we get the result of the cycle.   If we get pregnant, we take that till week 13/14 of the pregnancy.  If we don’t get pregnant, well, we don’t!

On a slightly more depressive note, last time they checked, the other 4 embryos didn’t look freezable.  I think if this fresh transfer doesn’t work, it would be more bearable if we have some in the freezer…However, this could change overnight – as they are lagging behind a bit where they should be at this point – but they’ll let us know for sure tomorrow afternoon.

Stay with us Holly and Frosty.  We love you so much already !!

Six little embryos sitting in a dish…

Six little embryos sitting in a dish…

babys.jpg

We got six!!!! Over the moon.  After a bit of a restless night (just uncomfortable after retrieval and was wondering how eggies were doing), the embryologist phoned at 9ish to say 6 had fertilised.  Absolutely stoked 🙂

I asked about the other two – apparently one egg was immature and the other was only just ripe.

We have named the little embryos Frosty, Holly, Carol, Mary, Joseph and Gabriel.  Praying for their continued growth and strength.

They’ll ring Monday with an update and to decide on whether a 3 day or 5 day transfer. Yay!!!