Tagged: pregnancy

Pondering post infertility

Today a friend of mine posted an ultrasound picture on Facebook and gaily announced to the world that their baby would be born next February. 

I already knew she was pregnant because I was one of the first people she told. We’d discussed pregnancy and whether she should start trying, and how she was going to persuade her boyfriend to try, and figuring out ovulation and so on. I told her about our experience and encouraged her to come off the pill and try sooner rather than later, if she could get her boyfriend to agree. 

I guess he agreed because a few short months later, they’re pregnant. I was kind of surprised by how little time it took, because in infertility-land you get used to talking in years rather than months. She told me how many months it took: three. 

Three months! Straight off the pill and up the duff!

Now, I am okay, but a couple of years ago this would have floored me. Why is it always someone else who just has to come off the pill a couple of months and get pregnant?! 

I really do feel happy and thankful for my life now. I feel (secularly!) blessed. But I have to confess I had a slight twinge of… something… when she told me she was pregnant. I don’t know what it is… It’s a sort of wistful, “Oh, to be that innocent!” The way they posted it all over Facebook without any worries they might lose the baby. The way they got pregnant so easily having barely tried. I guess I just feel wistful that I never got to have that innocence and that straightforward expectation that nothing would go wrong, that we’d just try and it would happen. 

Three months!

My infertility was measured more in decades. One and a half, more or less. 

What do you call yourself when you were previously infertile but by some (secular) miracles and scientific interventions you managed to have a baby?

I’m a mother. But I’m not a normal mother. I’m a pinch-myself-daily-because-I-can’t-believe-I-actually-had-a-baby mother. I’m a Thank You Science mother. I’m a “If you think you might have issues getting pregnant you really should try straight away and let me know if you want to know anything about endometriosis, IVF or immune therapy” mother. 

I’ll never have that whole will we, won’t we have another one dilemma. We are over the moon with our lovely One and Only. 

I’ll never innocently post early scans on Facebook for people to guess whether it’s a boy or a girl or who the baby looks like. Nobody knew about our pregnancy who didn’t see me in real life. There are still people who don’t know!

I had a twinge of something, a remembrance of loss of innocence, and I’m happy for my friends and I’m happy for us because we are so lucky to have B, but I had a twinge because I remember what it was like to be there, and I’m thinking of all of the people still in the trenches, or those who have had to walk away from the dream of being parents… and I’m sad for them. 

So – mothers after infertility. Mothers after loss. I don’t think infertility ever leaves you. I don’t think loss ever leaves you. But we know desperately how lucky we are. 

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Letting myself go

I was looking at old photos of myself on Timehop (God bless Timehop, the regurgitator of past lives!) and realised that I was really skinny. This was something of a surprise to me as I spent a good proportion of my life and most of my adult life feeling fat.

It's like a lot of my old life is something of a shock to me now. I remembered with a jolt the other day that I didn't wear trousers for five years because my ex told me my legs looked a bit like sausages in them. Five years! When did I allow someone else to have such agency over my body?

Even before I met my ex, I think I had some pretty disordered eating. Not quite anorexia – I never really was one for seeing things through – but I did maintain a pretty low body weight that is significantly lower than I am now. (For context: I am around 5'2", and I used to be a UK size 8-10, and now I'm about a UK size 12. Generally not considered "overweight".)

I'm not sure when my disordered eating and strange body image first started. A lot of people (especially girls) start this around puberty, and perhaps that's what happened for me. I think it's a bit deeper than that, though. I was adopted as a baby, transracially, and I grew up around white people so all my life I've looked different from most of the people I was around growing up.

When I went to a predominantly white school, all of this got amplified. I remember that it was a shock because I slowly realised that I was "less than" because of my race. I realised that I was supposed to be blonde haired and blue eyed and I was about as far from that as possible. I started to find myself ugly (and people started to tell me I was ugly to my face). I never had the skinny white girl legs. Mine were muscular and I was just a different build. Really average for my race, as it turns out. But you don't know that as a child if you grow up with people who don't look like you.

Adoption is complex, and I don't know how much of this was tied up in adoption, but I do know I can't separate out being a different race from my overall experience of growing up. My feeling of not fitting in, even though that was all I knew. Anyway, I got kind of chubby. Although looking back, I wasn't chubby. I don't think I was ever actually chubby – I was just short, and not lanky. 

Then one time when I was around 16, I went away on a holiday (to learn a language) and when I was there I got pretty sick and I couldn't really eat anything. And I dropped a load of weight. When I got back, suddenly everyone said how amazing I looked because I was skinny. I was suddenly approved of, and I liked it. So I maintained it.

I maintained it for a really long time. The thing is, I'm not naturally meant to be that weight. (It's about 20-30kg lighter than I am now. I don't know exactly how much as I don't know how much I weigh now.) So I got by on some disordered eating that kept me at my magic weight. My magic weight crept up over time… I kept in a 5kg weight range through school, and then it kind of crept up during my time at university, until it was +10kg, and then it was about +15kg in my last few years with IVF and everything. And even +20kg post miscarriage.

For me, I always thought I was "happy" when I was a lower weight. But when I look back, I was always kind of unhappy. I was happy that I'd managed to keep my weight down but I always felt a kind of anxiety about it. I used to weigh myself every day. The number on the scales made me feel like I was achieving something or I was failing something.

When I met T, after I'd split up with my ex – I had to adjust to a new way of being. I was always very controlled with my ex. He wouldn't think he was, but he controlled a lot about me. He had a huge effect on my feelings of self worth (or not). This was someone who had always dated very skinny women and even told me I was the fattest person he'd ever been with. It made me feel pretty bad about myself that I was that. The whole thing with my ex was that I never felt good enough. With T, I felt good enough. He really didn't care about weight. I actually met him when I was still pretty skinny and I piled on the relationship pounds… I let myself go.

I'm still conflicted about how I feel about it, because I recognise that my magic weight wasn't magic at all, but a strange idea of how I was supposed to look. And T tells me he loves me the way I am. But it was hard in the beginning putting on pregnancy weight – not just because of the weight itself, but the fear that it might be for nothing, like our first IVF and pregnancy was.

This pregnancy that gave me B also gave me a lot of weight. Firstly I had to take IVF drugs which make you put on weight. And also I had to take steroids which make you put on weight also. I got to halfway through pregnancy in a state of fear that it wouldn't work out, but then when I got halfway I decided I was going to try my best not to fear it any more.

I also decided to stop weighing myself. I have weighed myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day, since I was a teenager. I even recorded my weight every day in an app so I could see how much weight I put on. It's a bit crazy obsessive.

When I was properly pregnant, I gave myself permission to stop weighing myself. And I let myself relax into the pregnancy.

And you know what?

The strange thing is, I have no doubt I'm at least magic weight +20kg. Possibly +30kg. And I definitely have my moments of feeling a bit concerned about it (especially if I catch a glimpse of myself coming out of the shower – stretch marks and overhang and pendulous mammaries hanging out) but I generally feel absolutely awesome.

I don't know how it works for other people but for me – my body was always this thing that failed me. I wasn't the same as my white friends. I looked different. I was ultimately not enough – I wasn't enough for my birth mother to keep me; I wasn't enough for my ex to love me how I needed to be loved; I wasn't thin enough or attractive enough or whatever.

But having B was like all vanity went out of the window. I love myself now, because I know I'm just the same as anyone else – I'm fallible and imperfect, but my messed up body gave me B and I love myself for that. 

I love my ridiculous humungaboobs that feed B like a dream… when his dad "flies" him over to me for a feed, he giggles and opens his mouth to latch on. They may be saggy and baggy but they do exactly what they need to do to feed my baby, and I'm proud I've been able to do that and even to pump for him so he's been exclusively breastfed for his entire life, for half a year.

I love my saggy stomach. (This one requires a bit more imagination!) I love that it carried B safely (even though he needed cutting out at the last minute!). I love that I got to experience being gloriously, amazingly pregnant. I once had a big bump that I never thought I'd get to have, and I grew a human in there, and if it looks like a fleshy deflated balloon well – so be it. My bikini days are over anyway and I have an awesome very flattering swimsuit with tummy panels!

I love my fuller face. (Again this is a hard one!) I love that it's the face that my son loves. His eyes light up when he sees me. He giggles and reaches his arms out. We even had to hide the cushion with my face on because he kept staring at it! Yes, I don't have the cheekbones I used to have but they'll come back one day. Or maybe they won't. But I refuse to hate my face because it looks a little bit like my boy's and I love his.

Anyone who sees me now probably thinks I've "let myself go". And I really have.

I've given myself permission to breathe out. (You kind of have to if you had a caesarean, just saying.)

I've given myself permission to not care. I don't have to listen to the whispering voices of bullies from the past, who said I was fat and ugly. I'm not fat and ugly. I am the size I needed to be to carry my baby into existence. I'm the face of my ancestors, who I'm finally beginning to connect with through adoption forums and same race groups, and I refuse to be ashamed of my non-whiteness because I don't ever want to see that shame in my son's face.

Of course I don't advocate being unhealthy. (Well, chocolate notwithstanding.) The thing is, I'm a size bigger than I was pre-pregnancy. But there's a freedom in letting myself have this. I have told myself I won't diet until I finish breastfeeding. Right now, I don't know when that will be. I want to do at least a year. In fact I'm enjoying it so much (never thought I'd say that!) that I joke I'll do it till he's 15… although I think he might decide to wean himself before then! (We have started baby led weaning but B is not interested in the least… It's a messy business!)

I will start exercising again when I have the time, for sure. But it will be just for myself. I miss the enjoyment I used to get from exercise, a bit, but then we are pretty active as we walk almost everywhere and we have Dog, and he gets us out and about. Plus I do swimming with B once a week, if bobbing around in the shallow end counts. (Yes it does!)

The important thing is that I want B to have a healthy self esteem and be happy. And a huge part of that is having happy healthy parents. I don't want him to see his mother dieting or hating the body that he changed by coming into existence. I don't want him to hate half of his race that came from me. We've taken steps… He's in a diverse nursery in the diverse area we live in. So he will never have the experience of feeling the odd one out, like I did. 

And his parents are currently happy together and don't argue that much! (And when they do, it's his mama's fault… Hopefully the hormones will have died down a bit by the time he's more aware!) We are hopefully moving to our new place soon, so he'll even have a bit of outside space. And he has an awesome Dog for a buddy, and a load of new buddies at nursery… Life is good… and we are going to focus on the good things we are grateful for, rather than the bad things we wish we didn't have.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know we are massive Disney fans. We have booked to bring B to Disneyland Paris this year, because even though he won't remember it, it's our happy place (and we will save Orlando and the transatlantic flight for when he's older!). We have been every year apart from last year (heavily pregnant) as a couple and now we're going back as a family. 

And of course, one of the best Disney songs ever is from Frozen: Let it Go. I don't tell that many people this, but I can barely ever listen to that song without wanting to cry. It's the perfect song that sums up so much of how I feel. (Which is strangely embarrassing given I'm an almost-40 year old definitely not Scandinavian most likely not a princess archetypally buttoned up British-by-adoption person.)

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

So here's the thing… I never was perfect. But I was trying to be, and it was exhausting.

And I never realised that all this time I needed to find acceptance. Not from other people, but from myself.

I’d never heard this song before…

Sitting here listening to music on Alexa (“Alexa – play songs by Ed Sheeran”) and this came on and now I’m in floods of tears. And feeling very thankful. 

Trigger warning: some serious emotion relating to pregnancy. 

Ed Sheeran – Small Bump

The time of our lives

It’s been 16 days since B was born and our lives changed gear. (*Eek, three weeks since I started writing this blog post a few days ago!) And yet it feels like he’s always been here. I guess he’s been in existence for 9 and a half months, and in our minds and wishes for years before that. A year ago I couldn’t even imagine him and yet right now I have a two week old baby on my lap, breastfeeding, whilst I try and type out a blog post on the laptop! (Multitasking!)

I started writing this post in my head about a million times but it’s taken me until now (the day after T went back to work after his two weeks paternity leave) to start writing it. We’ve just been having the most amazing time. If I tried to put it all into words I don’t think I could do it justice so I’ll probably end up babbling incoherently. Sorry! I have loads of thoughts whirling around in my head so I’ll try just to put down some first impressions of parenthood.

Proper planning does not prevent p*** poor performance

You can’t really plan for how stuff is going to be (see my birth story, last post). And also you can’t plan for how you’re going to feel. I absolutely haven’t felt like I thought I would. 

For example, I really cared about the birth experience before it happened, and as soon as it did – I didn’t. And I also was really anti having visitors in the first few days – but we ended up having plenty in the first few weeks, and I was totally okay with it. 

The whole thing made me realise that the best laid plans… well, they help, as long as you’re okay with changing them as different things happen. I’m actually glad I went through the thought process of what would happen with the birth, because even though it didn’t happen as I’d planned it, I was able to adjust okay when it did. 

It’s not as hard as people say it is

This is my recurring mantra. I honestly can’t believe how much people drone on about how hard having a baby is, and that hasn’t been my experience at all. Maybe because B was so wanted, or maybe I’ve just adjusted really well, but I haven’t found it hard at all. 

Luckily my healing from the caesarean was pretty easy and I was able to walk the day after (albeit gingerly!) and I was very motivated to get out and about so I was pretty much back to normal by week two. 

And I never expected this but breastfeeding came really naturally to both of us. He definitely has a preference for one boob over the other (I think I have a more difficult angled one!) but he fed as soon as he was able and fortunately I had no pain or issues with giving him milk. I think that has had a huge impact on how I feel about everything because I’m sure if you have problems with it then that can be really stressful. 

The sleep deprivation everyone goes on about isn’t really that bad at all. I am not getting up early for work so it’s not a big deal. I can sleep in for longer in the mornings (when he wants to sleep!) and go to bed later. I am sure it will kick in when I go back to work but right now it’s a fairly straightforward thing – he wakes up, I feed him and/or change him, and we both go back to sleep. 

So really the whole thing has been way more enjoyable than I thought. I’m really loving this part – I think I had really low expectations of sleepless nights and crying babies and it’s really not that bad. And I kind of figure this it is the worst bit so generally I feel really positive about it. 

The funny thing is people always ask how you’re coping like they expect you to be having a terrible time. People can’t believe I was up and about so soon after having a c section. B just sits in the sling and we go all over the place. He is very portable! I think once you get over the nerves of breastfeeding in public, the world is your oyster!

It’s strange how people want to talk about how awful they say / imagine having a baby is. You instantly get people talking about sleepless nights, nappies and endless feeding. And the thing is, they are right. You do have sleep, but it’s just on a different schedule. You do have to change nappies but I have mainly outsourced that to the proud dad, who has taken it as a point of pride to get a clean baby bum! You do get woken up randomly (especially if you have the boobs!) but you don’t really care. 

The thing is, when you’ve waited and hoped this long… You love every moment of it. 


We are family (sing it!)

It feels so awesome to be a family. We already were, with Dog, but I think having a baby just cements that. Dog does not really know what to make of his little brother so far. We’ve done our best to make sure he feels happy, but he’s definitely a bit cautious and subdued. On the plus side for him, we have been at home a lot more than usual and he’s had a lot of extra treats. I am hoping he feels happier soon and he knows he’s still my best dog. 

As soon as I got back to the ward after recovery, T presented me with my “push present”. This was something we had discussed in a kind of jokey way because none of the guys in our NCT (antenatal class) really knew about it. Anyway I told him that it’s traditional to have an eternity ring for your first child, and there so happened to be one I liked… which he duly produced as soon as I was back on the ward!


I’m really happy with it. It’s funny but I’m not even bothered about getting married, as I’ve been married before and I think we are more committed anyway. It is just nice to have a little symbol of our commitment and also obviously our little B as well! (And Dog!)

Another thing I’ve noticed more is that because we aren’t married, B was referred to as “Baby [my surname]” in the hospital. He is taking T’s surname so his surname has effectively changed. It does feel slightly weird him having a different surname to mine, but I feel okay about it. He looks way more like me, and my brother’s kids have our family surname, so it’s not like it’s dying out. He’s the first grandchild on T’s side and probably the only one, so it feels okay that he takes their name. 

The other big thing for us is that B is the child of two adoptees. Which is kind of more crazy for me because T has met his birth mother, whereas I have never met any of my birth family since I was adopted as a baby. It is crazy that B looks so much like me because he’s my first blood relative I’ve ever known. It’s sort of a sad thing and it’s sort of a happy thing. 

You probably don’t need the stuff you think you need

I think it probably is hard to imagine beforehand how you’ll feel. I know I really couldn’t imagine it. Anyway I took all this stuff in to the hospital with me and ended up using hardly any of it! The makeup was extremely optimistic, haha. And I waited until I got home to have a shower. 

I really thought I would care about how I looked but when it came down to it, I didn’t really have the chance to worry too much. After the birth, I said to T that I must look a state but he said no, you look beautiful. I can confirm that I checked later in the bathroom mirror and my hair was sticking up in a matted mess, and I looked absolutely knackered, but I’ll take it!

The other thing is how much stuff you maybe think you need for the baby but you probably don’t need. We haven’t even used the buggy yet and he’s three weeks old! Although he’s quite light now and I can imagine I won’t want to carry him forever! Also, you pretty much just need some basics like nappies, clothes and a sling for the baby and the other stuff can wait… I may do another post for anyone who’s interested!

Also, you will get a lot of stuff you definitely don’t need when you have a baby! I have been well and truly told by T, who laughs his head off at me every time we get another doudou. The backstory is, my go to present for all friends who have babies is a doudou. It is a small animal toy holding a blanket. Now, I was always very proud of this present as one friend I got it for told me that it was his kid’s favourite toy. 

How many doudou have we received?

About five so far. And counting…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful. I really am. I just find it funny that I thought I’d come up with a super original present that everyone likes, and really they are probably thinking, “Oh god, it’s another bloody doudou!” 😂

People are so happy for us, which means they’ve been super generous with the gifts, but thank you cards are hard to get round to. I mean it’s three weeks down and I’ve been sort of writing this post in the background and I have hardly got halfway through the thank you cards! It’s nuts. I’m hoping people don’t expect too much of us!

To tell or not to tell

As followers of my blog may know, aside from this (relatively anonymous) blog, I kept my pregnancy off social media. There were lots of reasons for this but mainly it was down to pregnancy after loss and not wanting to count chickens or have to deal with pregnancy discussions when I wasn’t ready for them. 

So aside from people who were invited to my baby shower or who had seen my not inconsiderable bump in real life, most people didn’t know I was pregnant. Which meant that any announcement would come out of the blue. 

T and I debated it and he agreed it was okay for me to announce B’s birth on Facebook. Facebook has an option to add a child to your profile and you also specify the parents so both of you are tagged. T is a lot more private on social media than I am, so we even debated whether he was happy for me to post about B, but we decided it was okay for me to do it and tag him, as long as it went to my subset of friends (as I tend to post just to about a quarter of my friends and not all of them). 

In the end, I made a brief post with a photo of B and it was really nice. We immediately had tonnes of congratulations pouring in. It just felt great after so many years of it never being me, and obviously it’s nice to be celebrating something you are really happy about anyway. So it was kind of awesome and I didn’t really feel like I had missed out on pregnancy congratulations or anything. 

The one thing I did have a bit of an internal debate about was whether to make any comment about our journey to get here. The infertility and operations and ivf and treatment… I’ve seen other announcements referencing these and always kind of thought I would want to highlight this if we ever had our own announcement. Mainly because it’s always hard to see new baby announcements as if it is yet another super fertile couple with an oopsie pregnancy. 

But… in the end I decided not to. It’s hard to explain but I just really want this part of B’s life to be about celebrating and not anything more complicated. I have to respect T’s preference for privacy also. I feel that all my close friends know already about my medical history and also if I discuss it in real life, I always mention how B happened – with a lot of intervention. So I guess it’s a balance of privacy and openness. I want to shout it from the rooftops… but I also want to respect T’s and B’s privacy. 

Speaking of which… I really want to share some photos but with my blog readers rather than the general public. So I’m going to put some photos – for a limited time! I’ll delete them shortly! – on another post, which will be password protected. And I’ve kind of hidden it in the thick of this post so only people who read it will know the password, which is [redacted – mail me and ask nicely!], so please feel free to check them out before they are deleted! 🙂

A final thought… (for now!)

In these halcyon days of B’s early existence in the outside world, I’ve been thinking how long the journey has been to meet him. In my last post, I referenced my very first post where I wondered – way back in April 2015 – whethere we would ever be parents. And that’s nothing compared to the years and years of infertility and operations and pain we had to get here. 

I’ve been working out the stats. I’m not sure exactly what they are and one day when I have time, I will try and work out the exact numbers. But here is (approximately) what it took for us to have B. 

  • 16+ years of infertility
  • 3 operations 
  • 6 hospitals
  • 10 doctors
  • 2 cycles of IVF
  • 19 eggs retrieved
  • 2 transferred embryos
  • 2 pregnancies
  • 1 loss
  • 200 injections
  • 6 intralipid infusions
  • 11 medications
  • 1 caesarean section 

(I was going to add in all the attempts to get pregnant but thought that might be somewhat boastful, haha.)

It’s sort of mind boggling. I don’t believe in religion but I do feel like B is a miracle baby! And I’m so happy he is here. T and I are completely in love. And Dog is getting there! I just feel so lucky and still can’t really imagine this is real.

And here’s the big thought that makes everything worthwhile…

T said the other day that if we hadn’t had all the other attempts then B wouldn’t be B. Any of those other eggs that didn’t get fertilised, or the embryos that didn’t make it, and even our baby we lost were different potential humans. 

And our little baby B who we’ve already come to know and love is a perfect accident of biology, who was helped along by science, and he’s wonderful. 

I didn’t enjoy the waiting and hoping and heartache and wondering if it would never happen, but it has, and life is good. 

Feeling strangely fine

Showing my age as a “geriatric mother” with that title, but when I was thinking about how to sum up this blog post, those were the words that sprang to mind.

 

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant. Which is a sentence I never thought I’d say. We are now out of the waiting game and into the OMG IT COULD HAPPEN ANY TIME game. In part, I feel completely unprepared and in part I feel pretty zen. I think a large part of feeling okay with all the various things that could or might or maybe are going to happen is I feel insanely grateful to be pregnant and to possibly be in the home stretch of actually having a baby. It’s hard to describe because I had 16 years of always being the one without the baby. So yeah, I always have in the back of my mind that the aches and pains and inconveniences are a means of my body doing something that I never thought I’d ever have the opportunity to do.
 
After the last blog post where I had a mini meltdown about last minute changes of birth plan, I have done a bit of Jedi mind trickage and I think I am pretty okay with it. This is partly because I had a meeting with my midwife L (the amazing Best Midwife In The World) and we talked through everything and agreed it. Long story short, I had meetings with various medical professionals prior to L – the diabetic midwives (“Computer says no”), the diabetologist (“I agree, I don’t think you are diabetic as such – if you weren’t pregnant, we’d say you had signs of being pre-diabetic”) and the diabetic obstetrician (“I can completely understand why you don’t think you’re diabetic – I think you’re low risk and I don’t think you need continuous monitoring during birth”).
 
Basically, the diabetic doctor said I was fine for the birth centre. And then I saw L and she said unless I was actually categorically not diabetic, she wouldn’t feel comfortable with me not having the monitoring… and then she brought in my original doctor, who deals with high risk patients, and he said he really recommended I had continuous monitoring because of XYZ “soft risk factors” and I thought, well I’ve pushed back, got a diabetic doc to agree I probably don’t have diabetes, and they still want me to be monitored, so maybe I should just accept it.
 
So I have. It sounds a bit like another U turn but there you have it – I’m the master of U turns and mind tricks; I just need a few days to get my head around things. I am disappointed for sure that I won’t get to give birth in the birth centre, but ultimately the important thing is that B gets here safely. And if the head midwife and high risk doc would prefer it if I’m continuously monitored then I need to go with that. I mean for all I know, my zen birth could end up being an emergency caesarian. Also, both of them (L and high risk doc) were very respectful of my wishes and said that they’d allow me to use the birthing pool etc and suggested we do the lights and music and whatnot so ultimately it will be as similar as possible to the birth centre, just in a more hospital-like room with less nice furniture and decor. (I guess I would have felt better about the whole thing if I’d never have seen the birth centre! Ha.)
 
In other news, the annoying one from my NCT group had her baby! Which is actually good news because she was seeing my midwife (a late referral due to her general cray cray-ness) and I had a concern that I’d end up going into labour and find out that L was delivering her baby instead of mine! Anyway, she seems completely happy about it and so maybe this is a sign that she will be chilled out from now on. She was probably getting to me because (apart from the strange borderline stalky behaviour) she was always so down about everything to do with pregnancy. And given my history, I just didn’t want to be around someone who constantly whinged about pregnancy and was so obviously scared of childbirth. It turns out that she is one of those “OMG it was fine, I forgot all the pain!” people so I’m hoping that this bodes well for future interactions! Which I’ll still be limiting until she proves not to be a stalking psycho!
 
I’m now on hospital bag v2, which means I brought it back up from the car and repacked it with some additional stuff. I’m feeling pretty prepped in that way, although I still feel if there were a way to smuggle Dog into the delivery suite then I’d feel a lot better about everything! Poor little thing. I’ve been working from home this week and told him many times that he’s still my #1 dog, and always will be my first boy. Although I’m going to have to get out of the habit of calling him “My best boy” which is what I usually call him. Bless him. I am sure he won’t know what hit him. We keep having long lie ins together now that I am working from home (*cough cough*) and so I’m not sure how he’ll take to some screaming baby. But… I’m comforted by the fact that he loves most humans, and especially males! I’m hoping they turn into the best of buddies.
 
We also constructed the cot, by which I mean, T built it and Dog and I watched. It is the Snuzpod which is very cute. It’s meant to last until 6 months. T’s parents bought it for us, which is nice. It’s a bedside sleeper if you want it to be, although it’s not attached to the bed right now – I’ll probably attach it. It’s right by my side of the bed which is quite odd as when I turn on that side I’m just staring at it and thinking, wowsers, there might be a little person in there in a while. T told me last night, OMG, it could happen in the next week!! What a thought!
 
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I had a rather large sense of achievement over this – although putting a fitted sheet on a tiny mattress is significantly harder than it looks!

 
We also tried out the sling which it turns out is a bit more complicated than I first thought. I’m hoping it becomes more obvious when you’re trying it with a baby and not a dog! Dog was not particularly impressed but it’s nice to realise it fits him!
 
It’s my last day of work today – although I’ve been working from home for the whole new year. Unfortunately yesterday we had a bunch of bad news landed on my account which is really annoying and probably affects my bonus. Fortunately, I am leaving the account for four months (yay!) and won’t be thinking about work for a while (yay! yay!) and also I have not depended on my bonus for anything. I kind of don’t understand people who do, because it’s not guaranteed. But, it’s really disappointing because basically we were on track to meet our targets and now something outside of my control has completely screwed not just our December numbers but it’s so bad that it’s brought down the average for the entire year, which means we narrowly miss our target. It’s kind of aggravating and if I wasn’t going off, I’d probably be a bit more angry about it… but I’m hoping my boss will appreciate it was outside of my control. (It’s down to another team outside of the country – and I’ve already heard he gave them a huge b*llocking this morning after speaking with me – eek.)
 
My sister had her second scan and everything was fine! So I’m sooo hopeful that it’s going to work out. If everything goes according to plan with B’s arrival, his arrival will coincide roughly with her 12 week scan and whilst I know that everything is not hunky dory in people’s minds when they’ve experienced a loss, 12 weeks is a big milestone. I guess selfishly I want her to be able to celebrate B’s arrival and not feel terrible about it. In my more selfish moments I think, I don’t want her to be a downer because if everything goes right with hers, everyone will celebrate hers whereas my B will be overshadowed by other worries. But then I think that is completely selfish, and I know how bad I felt when my brother had his baby around the same time as we were getting over our loss, and I remember that pregnancy after loss is a screwed up mind**** and makes normally rational people go a bit irrational (and my sister isn’t even a normal level of anxious to start with!) so I need to let her do whatever she feels capable of doing. I sort of feel she has been supportive from afar (buying presents etc but avoiding me in person) which I can understand, but I’m hoping if they get past 12 weeks that she can start to feel better about things.
 
My brother has been having a hard time lately, and this is the one I’ve posted about before who nothing bad ever happens to. And what has happened is life changingly bad. I don’t really feel right posting about it just now in detail because I haven’t even spoken with him about it as he’s made it clear he’s not ready to discuss it. But it has made me feel a great deal of compassion for him, which is not something I am used to feeling about him. (It’s usually jealousy/resentment due to his perfect life.) Thing is, he has had the most amazing cushy easy life and of course I’ve envied him that. But what’s happened to his family (to do with his child’s health) is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. So I’m doing my best to be supportive and open, and although we haven’t talked about it at all, we had a good long Facetime session at Christmas and I feel hopeful that maybe B’s arrival will help us to build some bridges and strengthen our relationship. It’s not that we have a bad relationship – it’s just we aren’t overly close, and that’s probably both of our faults because I found it hard with the kids and he is a man, who makes almost zero effort to stay in touch! We like each other when we see each other but we are kind of casual texters when we really could make more effort to stay in touch. So I’m really hoping that 2017 brings some good news for them, and also that we can become closer during this year. (It already happened with my sister a few years ago – we went from hardly speaking to being pretty close, so it can happen!)
 
Another thing I’ve been wondering about is the blog. Like I see how it often happens in blogland, where people blog for a year or two or three about trying to have a baby. And then they have a baby and stop posting, or they have a baby and it turns into a “mom-blog”. I am really not sure how I feel about that. And I don’t think I’ll know until it happens. I have no previous experience of having a child to compare it with and although I can imagine it in the abstract, I have no idea what it’ll actually be like having a baby. (I keep talking with Dog about it but he doesn’t seem to have much insight!) I’m in that pre-baby state of mind where it seems within touching distance but my day to day emotional life is pretty much the same – I’m still childless, even though there are many indications that will change within the next week or two.
 
I initially set up my blog to talk about the IVF process, so in that sense I think it has been a good outlet for that experience. I’ve been through two IVF cycles and have no plans for any more. From my own perspective, I think it’s important to share the whole story, including the miscarriage from cycle 1 and the emotional recovery from that… and also, whilst thinking about infertility, my mind naturally wandered to adoption, because I’m adopted. So I’ve shared thoughts about that. And also I just blog when I have something on my mind even if it’s not related to either of those things. (Work, or friendship, I think.) It’s always been that sort of 3 category blog: Infertility, Adoption, and random thoughts. Also I have blogged out of the infertility into the pregnancy after loss. I realise that must be triggering to some people who start to follow an infertility blog and then it becomes a pregnancy blog, but equally I feel like my pregnancy came out of that infertility. So I understand that readership probably ebbs and flows over time.
 
So yeah, not sure what’s next. I guess I’ll know in a week or two when B is here. The main thing on my mind right now is hoping that he gets here safely. The rest is just cosmetic…
 
Excerpt from my first blog post:
So that’s what I’m going to tell you about. The journey. What it’s like and the thoughts and ideas I had about it. Maybe this will never be read by anyone. Or maybe, just maybe… in 15 years or so, when the mythology of his/her being is slipping into the mundane, I’ll knock on the door of my adolescent’s bedroom and I’ll say “There’s a story I have to tell you…” 

Rites of passage (32 weeks)

I’m absolutely knackered. I think the lack of carbs is making me sleepy or maybe it’s just that I’m now 32 weeks pregnant. Today was pretty tiring, and the whole gestational diabetes and trying to control my diet probably doesn’t help. I’ve been controlling it pretty well with diet, which means my blood tests have mainly all come back within range, but the side effect is that I don’t have much energy. Although I think my bump has grown more this week so maybe it’s the effort of lugging that around!

This afternoon I had a workshop for three hours. Being fairly heavily pregnant, sitting in a hot room for hours and listening to people talk about fairly unexciting work stuff whilst feeling carb deprived and sleepy doesn’t really make for a pleasant afternoon! Anyway, I was fairly engaged until right at the end where they were droning on a bit too long. I was looking at my phone when one of the presenters (that client who did the racial slur on me when drunk) tried to call me out in front of the other people there.

I thought this was kind of funny-peculiar (not haha) because it seemed a really schoolteachery thing to do. It was like she wanted to try and embarrass me by asking me what I thought of what they’d been discussing, because she thought I wasn’t paying attention. Of course I had been half listening so I answered the question and provided an explanation. Anyway, I thought that was a weird and sort of combative thing to do, to try and put me on the spot like that. Also, who picks on the heavily pregnant woman and how does she know why I was looking at my phone? Her boss looks at his phone pretty much solidly throughout any meeting. And it wasn’t a meeting, it was a workshop with lots of tables and loads of people and I wasn’t the only one looking at my phone.

Not to weigh too heavily on it but I wonder if it’s got back to her that I mentioned the racial slur. (I didn’t make an official complaint but I did mention it to the PA I’m buddies with and I kind of didn’t care if it got back to her boss because she was waaay out of line.) Who knows. All I know is I don’t need a combative client to deal with at this stage of pregnancy. At least I’ll be off for a few months so I can avoid her for a bit! 

Anyway, I had to leave work on time (early! On time is the new early!) to get to our very first NCT class. I can’t even remember what it stands for, but these are basically antenatal classes (which you have to pay for!) for a few weeks before the birth. You end up in a class with other couples who are due around the same time as you. As one of the dog walking guys told me, “You’ve got to do it because you’re basically paying for pregnant friends!” I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it and quite honestly could’ve gone to bed as soon as I got in from work, post Dog walk.

In the event, the NCT class is held about 5 mins walk from our place so there’s not much excuse not to go, and it was actually quite entertaining. We were in a class of 7 couples of which 6 turned up tonight. What I found interesting is the comparison between couples that you naturally do when you meet new people… or is that just me?

Out of 6 couples:

  • Only 2 couples were white British. We live in a very diverse area and I’m so glad we moved there. I really like the idea that B won’t be an odd one out in his class or where we live.
  • One couple was the exact same racial mix as we are. And they live down the road!
  • Everyone lived really close together so in theory if we make friends with any of them, we’ll be walking/bus distance to all of them.
  • 4 couples were foreign or interracial. So for once I wasn’t the odd one out!
  • Everyone is due within a few weeks of each other. In fact at least 3 of us are due within a few days. I’m due second out of the class – 4 days after the first one. And another lady’s due 4 days after me. So it’s anyone’s guess who’ll be first!
  • I think we are the only ones having a boy!
  • 5 of the couples are planning to have their babies at our hospital.
  • I think I had the biggest bump… and I was paranoid that I was the fattest. That wasn’t the best feeling but I don’t think there’s much I can do about that.
  • All the women worked. It’s good to know as I sometimes feel the pregnancy advice seems to be geared towards women who don’t work. Which is fine but this week it suggested I take up swimming and catnaps during the day… I can’t really do that in the office!

 

I guess tonight was an intro so we went through some stuff about pregnancy and supporting your partner and whatnot. A lot of it was understanding where everyone else was at, what their plans were and finding out some commonalities. Probably not that interesting unless you’re having a baby. But it wasn’t bad as an initial intro session. I think the aim of NCT is for people to have a positive childbirth experience, so I guess that’s a good aim. Also it gets the men more involved, which I’m sure is nice for them as so many things are aimed at the woman. (T enjoyed it that we got to demonstrate pregnancy / labour massage on the men!)

The one thing I found worth holding onto was the following acronym which is meant to help you if you want to understand the reasons why you might be being forced down a certain treatment path and how you can make an informed decision in the heat of the moment.

B – Benefits – What are the benefits of this course of action?

R – Risks – What are the risks associated with this course of action?

A – Alternatives – What are the alternatives to this course of action?

I thought that was quite good as it’s a less confrontational way of asking why they want you to do something (like induction, etc). Apparently there’s a longer one called BRAINS but that is way too much to remember!

The other interesting thing was seeing lifesize cross sections of a woman’s body during pregnancy and how my stomach is apparently now up under my ribs! Who knew! I guess I thought it was underneath baby or something. Ha.

So all in all, worth doing. 

Tomorrow I have my NHS ultrasound which will be the first one since being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I’ll be interested to know if B is still measuring big. I’ve started realising why people go on maternity leave early… I am definitely feeling this week that I have grown more and am tired with traveling around. I worked out this week I only have 3 more weeks of work before my Christmas break, and then after that I only have just over a week before I’m due to go on maternity leave – or less if B comes early. That is a bit mindboggling! We’re nowhere near ready!

Friday funny (Pregnancy edition)

With apologies to Lyart!

So my friend got me this gift set and it’s nice pregnancy stuff. 

Just got out of the shower and intended to slather on the Pregnancy Boob Tube… 

Instead I picked up the very similar looking bottle of Lucky Legs cooling energising leg gel… 

I now have nice chilly boobs! 😂😂😂☃❄️

IVF 2: A week of firsts

I’m 12.5 weeks today and I just wanted to do a quick post of firsts that I’ve experienced this week. 

First telling people not in immediate family that it’s “official”. I told some friends this weekend, as we all met up. Including my BFF, who I really should have told first but she lives overseas and I wanted to tell her in person. Also some visitors from the US. Both times I did it with this…


My first Baby on board badge!

Wow. The feels. 

I never thought I would ever get to wear one. I silently resented / was jealous / was sad of all the women on the tube who wear them. Sometimes London seems stuffed full of Baby on Board-ers. 

For those of you who aren’t in London (that’ll be all of you! My American / Canadian / Australian buddies!) this badge is something you get for free if you’re pregnant – you have to ask for it, obviously. It’s to counter the British sensibilities of people not wanting to ask for a seat and also people not wanting to ask a woman if she’s pregnant. 

There’s a bunch of controversy over it as really people should offer seats to those less able to stand, like those on crutches or with invisible illnesses, etc. But this is something quite common (though obviously not common enough for the infertile like us) which can easily be remedied by wearing the badge. 

This week I have been feeling so tired. So when my badge finally arrived in the post, I thought I would wear it. Mainly because there is one office I work in where there’s a really convoluted route to work on crowded underground lines and it’s hard to get a seat. 

The first time I wore it, a black man instantly jumped up and offered me his seat. (I note his race for later; it does become relevant.) I almost cried with gratitude. It felt really poignant all of a sudden to be acknowledged as pregnant. I never thought I would. 

On later trains I had mixed success. On some trains people would just kind of ignore it. Some they’d offer a seat. But each time people didn’t offer for a while, somebody else stepped in to ask/tell someone I was pregnant and needed the seat more than I did. And what I noticed was, they were more often than not black. 

Now, I’ve moved to a majority black area. So maybe there are more black people on my tube journey. But actually what I found was that the black people actually seemed insulted on my behalf. One woman practically marched over to a (white) guy who was studiously ignoring the badge and made him give up his seat! I was so grateful!

I’ve mentioned before that I am a POC / ethnic minority (US/UK term) but I’m not black. But honestly I have felt so happy to move to this area. People are so nice, considerate, and I genuinely love seeing strong black women around the place. Almost all the POC I know through work are strong black women/men. We see so many negative stories in the media – this week I was hugely upset by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. So to be surrounded by a strong community, where I get to see KOC (kids of colour) who are happy and proud in their skins means the world to me. I know if all goes well I’ll have one (biracial) of my own and it means a lot that I can bring up my child in a diverse environment. 

T has actually commented on how much I have commented on it. I guess being where he is less sensitive to racial things. He thinks it’s sort of funny when I point out mixed race couples or [my ethnicity] families, but I don’t think he realised how big of a deal this is for me. He’s happy for me but it doesn’t really affect his life in the same way. To see families on our estate who look like me – it’s huge. 

Anyway I digress. I feel like I’m a little bit “out” about being pregnant but I take the badge off when I get near work. I am not intending to tell people unless I have to. I would much rather rock up with a giant bump. I’ve been thinking about how to tell work… but I don’t think I have to for a few months, according to their rules. 

Thing is, I don’t know how long I can hide it. I have totes porked out. I have a big belly now. It can’t all be fat. I am living at the weekend in my maternity jeans (the relief!) and a baggy sweater. I look like a complete fatty. I can’t wait for a proper bump (I feel like I have to caveat everything with “if we get that far”). 

My friends who I told this weekend are over the moon for us. They are all aware that we lost a baby this time last year… And some know that we also went through IVF. I think people are still overly positive about things but I suppose that’s all they can do in the circumstances. It’s nice being the recipient of good wishes, but it also sort of makes me worry in more anxious times that anyone told might have to be untold… That’s pregnancy after loss for you. 

Anyway, some more firsts in pictures…

A first ice lolly on the boat! I love commuting by boat! I saved it for the weekend though as it’s a bit hairy during the week trying to sync it with the trains. 

A first for my friends who I met up with for a girly evening, at Dirty Bones. It’s an American inspired diner. Where else would I take my friends?!

Milk and cookies dessert. A first! It was delicious. The “milk” was gelato. The cookie was melt in the mouth chocolate ganache. Don’t mind if I do!

Okay this wasn’t a first as it’s from my favourite place, Ben’s Cookies. It was sort of a first for today as I had it for breakfast in bed! Triple chocolate!

My lovely sis sent me rainbow lilies – a first! I’ve never seen them before and they are really cheery! Excuse the unpacked alcohol around them! 😂

We tried the third of our local pubs for Sunday lunch today. A first! Won’t be the last! Delicious and dog friendly! I love this place!


So for now, my next pregnancy related thing is my midwife booking appointment next Friday. I had thought the other NHS appointment last Sunday was the booking appointment but it was the scan! So that’s a first too. Apparently that will mean I’m properly in the system. 

And as for the second trimester… The tiredness is still there. Massively. And the weird stomach pains (like period pains). I’m trying not to worry. And having a big belly. I’ve always been significantly slimmer. That’s a first! A lot of firsts.

And the second trimester… A first for me. Can we get to the third? I hope so. 

IVF2: A catch up

How did it get to be that time? I’ve been rather lax about blogging of late, for a number of reasons. Last time we spoke was way back in week 8, and since then I have:

  • Started a new job
  • Been madly packing up our apartment
  • Bought a house (well, an apartment/flat – it is London, after all)
  • Been waiting to get through the next milestone (our 10 week scan, this weekend)

Any one of those things would be kind of a big deal, but for us, it seems like it’s happening all at once.

Another reason I’ve sort of taken a break from blogging, apart from the fact that I’ve been busy, is that I’m still anxious about this pregnancy. I’m now 10 weeks 1 day and I haven’t miscarried, and I have various symptoms, but I really don’t feel like I have faith in this pregnancy yet, although I’m choosing to distract myself with thinking that it “might” happen. I mean, it will sort of happen if/when it happens and I have no control over it, but I had to take myself away from the constant pregnancy / infertility stuff for a while, just for my own sanity. So I’m sorry if I haven’t been as supportive as I could be to any of my blogfriends… I am thinking about you (and I went on a comments jag yesterday so catching up!) – I will be back properly soon, I promise!

The other reason is one of the pregnancy symptoms, I think – I am so tired! I feel absolutely exhausted most of the time right now, especially in the afternoons and evenings (oh and when I get up in the morning – so all the time then). I can’t even describe it. Maybe it’s that I usually have coffee every morning and whilst I haven’t entirely sworn off coffee, I have only had it very occasionally. But also I seem to be hit with this kind of uncontrollable tiredness in the afternoons, and it’s all I can do to get home and get to the sofa and then to bed! It. Must be a pregnancy symptom as I really am usually a minimum sleep night owl. 

Anyway, here are some updates:

New job

I am really enjoying it! It seems to be going well, subject to a few minor hiccups that will hopefully iron themselves out. (Eg I have a man reporting into me who seems sort of resistant about the idea of reporting into a woman – he’s going to have to get over that pretty quickly. And the tech isn’t quite what I was used to!) All the people I’ve met seem to be great. My new boss is awesome. The first day on the job he was called away and told me to take the second day off! So funny. And when I’ve told him about various things, he says not to worry. And he’s taking me (and others) sailing tomorrow… Life could be worse. I kind of can’t believe that I’m being the most I’ve ever been paid to do this job (which doesn’t seem to be very stretching so far… A nice kind of pregnancy relaxing job, as T said) but I’m thinking it’s maybe the calm before the storm. I’m trying to enjoy it whilst it lasts!

 

Packing

T has been quite cross with me about how slow I’ve been to pack. I don’t think he fully appreciates the pregnancy symptoms which manifest themselves as laziness! Probably because I’m quite lazy generally! Half our apartment (a big open plan studio) is full of boxes. It’s good I have T because he keeps telling me what to do. I’d never do it on my own!

All moving stuff is incredibly stressful though. Trying not to stress about it as it can’t be helped. Just massively annoying it’s taken so long to resolve when we should have been able to move in a nice relaxed way when I was working my notice period. Fortunately new job seems reasonable and I think they will be okay with me moving.

 

House buying

We exchanged and completed on our new place! Finally! We pick up the keys tonight. This is super exciting and long overdue. We last saw the place (tiny tiny!) 5 months ago which is insane, so we finally get to go and see it tonight. We probably won’t move until next week.

Ooh, I’m back from picking up the keys and seeing our (our!) new place and I’m pleased to announce that it is still lovely! Well – it’s teeny tiny but I love it. It’s in an old building (we only live in old buildings it seems!) and has lots of characterful features (eg wooden beams you bang your head on if you’re tall, which I’m not). I can’t wait until we are properly settled there. 

 

Pregnancy 

I’m still pregnant as far as I know! Last week I did a funny thing. I decided I’d always fancied going in one of those floatation tanks, and they had a Groupon offer, so I did it! So funny. It is like a big bath in a giant egg. You go in for a whole hour!


That’s it lit up and then you get in, close the lid and float. The water is all salty which helps you float. They play a bit of music for a bit and then it goes silent and you just… float. 

I quite enjoyed it really. It’s weird to switch off (no wifi!) but not unpleasant. Floating is fun. The one thing I would say is the salt water kept irritating my eyes – I wear contacts and I probably should have worn some goggles. Because of the heat and humidity you sort of get drips and sweat on your face, and then you try and wipe it off with your salty hands… Which means you do get stingy eyes. But maybe someone with not so rubbish eyes would be okay! Anyway I might do it again at the right price. It’s meant to be a bit like being in the womb… I can’t say I remember it, but it’s a kind of pleasant feeling!

In terms of pregnancy symptoms (or what I think might be symptoms) I’ve had the following:

  • Extreme tiredness as I described above. Always tired!
  • Nausea / extreme hunger – I sort of feel sick when I’m hungry, and then after I’ve eaten I have a sort of crash, and feel like I have to lie down and sleep – it’s weird. 
  • Bad taste in my mouth – I really need to drink something fresh or something like that, as I end up having this sort of dry or bad taste in my mouth. I’ve noticed this a lot. It ends up with me drinking lots of water or eating fruit! Odd!
  • Sensitive to smells – I’ve always had a keen sense of smell but I feel like I smell stuff really strongly now. I’m especially sensitive to BO on the tube or bad breath. Or food smells (like T had some corned beef which I can’t stand and I almost killed him!). 
  • Food cravings or aversions – I don’t know if it’s actual cravings but I definitely feel like eating certain things and not others. I’ve always been a fussy eater but it feels a bit different, like it takes me a while to decide what I want to eat at any point. I’m quite into clementines at the moment (healthy!) and weirdly not as into chocolate or pizza as I usually am. But in terms of meals it’s like I can only eat what I “feel like”. Today I had quiche! I can’t think of the specific things as it varies by day but it does feel a bit different than my usual faddish eating. 

I think that might be it. Obviously stomach and boob swelling. Generally all over fatness. It’s quite horrible in that way and I feel very unwieldy but not much I can do about that. I stopped weighing myself last week as I was getting stressed. Also I feel so sick at times I just have to eat something. 

 

Other stuff

It was Father’s Day in the UK last weekend. I think it’s the same most places whereas our Mother’s Day is different. I sent my dad a card with the 8 week ultrasound in and got an excited call from my parents on the Sunday! It was funny. They’re happy although obviously concerned for me after last time. I keep trying to temper my expectations with the idea that “if it happens” and so on. It sounds really negative but I can’t count on it just yet. Maybe at 12 weeks. 

I got T a father to be card for Father’s Day! He seemed quite pleased. I didn’t even know you could get them but I saw it when I got my dad’s card and thought I should try it. 

We voted today! For those of you not in the UK, I’m talking Brexit. I actually did a postal vote as I wasn’t sure if we would have moved by now, which we obviously haven’t – so I voted last week. I’ve never seen a vote where people were so vocal about it. 


If you want to know how I voted – I say we need to stay European and fabulous!

 

Next steps

Two more days till we see our little baby again. I hope s/he has grown. The midwife said if we get past 9 weeks it’s seen as a good thing. So we shall see. 

A final thought: When we got to our new place tonight, I had post! It was a letter from the hospital where I’ve registered, our new local hospital, giving us our booking appointment (the first appointment with the midwife to start planning the birth). It’s on a weekend so T will be able to come. It was a really nice thing that my first letter there was that. 

The ex owners also left us a care package of food, tea and coffee, biscuits, crisps and chocolates! It was really nice. 

Here’s to new beginnings… and staying pregnant. The next milestone!

IVF 2: It’s all go (Week 8)

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do an update – I think it’s because so much has happened in the past week. And it just seems like a lot of updating, but I think it’s safe to say that a lot has happened this week! Have a seat, get yourself a G&T (or a virgin mocktail) and settle in for the long haul…

The end of an era

First things first, last Friday was my last day at work. I wrote in my last post how I did two days worth of cake baking, and Friday – my last day in the office – I was anticipating having a load of time to update my blog, pack up my stuff, etc. Did not happen! I got into work, with a load of the cakes, and I was immediately besieged by people wanting to say goodbye. It went on The. Entire. Day. I’m not kidding! I said to T it was sort of like being at your own funeral… I mean, it was actually really nice how many people took the time to come round and have a chat (and eat some cake!). I suppose it was slightly different to what most people do, because it’s usually a big boozy night out, which I obviously wasn’t doing. So I’d mailed out 120 (!) carefully chosen people (because I’m so not someone who sends out something to entire mailing lists saying “Delete if you don’t know me”) and invited them to pop round for cake. It was awesome!

Here are some of the cakes plus the day 2 (final day) display in the office…



I mean, it was a lot of cake. It was also super touching that people actually took the time to come round and say goodbye, including some people I didn’t really expect to come by. It was half term so a lot of people weren’t in the office. Also one of the partners got me a present! Personally! Which I just felt super honoured to receive (I’m still someone who finds it exciting when partners are nice to me, ha) and she (one of the few female partners) also got me the most awesome card. I totally loved it. She also got me chocolates from Hotel Chocolat (posh chocolate shop) and cake themed tea towels from anthropologie! I was so chuffed!

The card… I love this card so much. It sums me up… I’m never going to be a zebra…


Another thing that was lovely was most of the people who came round to say bye weren’t actually part of my team. (I did have my favourite partner from my team come round and chat for ages, which was great.) It was nice because I felt like I had gotten to know people who weren’t in my direct team. For all that the company treated me not in the best way, I still felt that at least I had a positive impact on some people. One of the ones who came round was a girl who worked for me on a project last year. She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met – super attractive, probably 15 years younger than me, and super smart… I should hate her but she’s lovely. And she came round and said, “Thank you so much for encouraging me and being so supportive” and I was thinking, wow, she’s going to surpass me in a matter of years! I’ll be asking her for a job in the future, I’m sure! Still, it was nice that she said such nice things!

One of my best friends at work took me out for a posh lunch to Vanilla Black. It’s one of the poshest veggie restaurants in London. I’m not vegetarian but I always sort of flirt with the idea… I love going to somewhere I don’t have to worry about ordering things I won’t like. (I’m very fussy about meat. Honestly I should give it up, but I like it too much. But if I thought about it I wouldn’t eat it.) Anyway we had a lovely catch up because she’s pretty senior so really busy all the time! She said she was really sad I was leaving but I refuse to feel sad because I know we’ll stay in touch.


And finally, I got this amazing bouquet from the girls I sit near – which is so nice because I am not even in their team, but one of them managed to organise this absolutely humungous and stunning bunch of flowers, which incorporates my favourite flowers. I love flowers!


 

The 20 year reunion

So straight after leaving work, I went to meet up with my friends from school for our girls’ weekend. Turns out I was delayed at the office so my poor friend had to sit in the pub waiting for me to arrive. I couldn’t tell people to leave when they’d come to say goodbye! But eventually I managed to escape. I tried to feel grateful for the flowers and gifts but truth be told, I was somewhat weighted down by all the baggage! Especially as I wasn’t going home until Sunday! So funny! Fortunately my friend was totally okay with it and saw the funny side. And then our other friend turned up. So three out of four were there, and we had a few hours to kill before meeting the fourth at the train station. We had all come from different places – I was the local one who lives in London and the others live hours away, so that goes some way to explaining why we hadn’t been all four of us together since we left school! 

One of the first things I did was explain that I wasn’t drinking… because… I’m pregnant! Friend 1 knows about the miscarriage last year and has had two herself. She was really happy for me. Friend 2 has a child and has recently split up with her husband. She was also happy for me. I tried not to make a big deal out of it because I knew Friend 1 would maybe feel bad about it, but actually she was super nice about it. We had a great time chatting and drinking (me: orange and lemonade – so strange as I’m usually the first to have a nice glass of wine) and we looked up and suddenly realised Friend 3 would be arriving at the station in a few minutes and we weren’t anywhere near! (I guess this makes me Friend 4!)

Now, before we met up, Friend 3 had been messaging our Whatsapp group. A lot. Some of it was self-deprecating stuff about being fat. We explained nobody cares, we’re all girls, we’re old friends, we don’t give a s*** how fat you are. Also she just kept messaging small things. A lot. Anyway long story short but OMG it turns out she is completely neurotic. I have seen her in the intervening years but not at length – and we had a full weekend to spend together. It feels uncharitable to talk about her in this way so I won’t labour the point… Just that, wow, girl has problems. She just acted completely anxious and highly strung the entire weekend (for example: refused to drink in a really attention seeking way all the time, because she apparently doesn’t drink until she gets her period, just in case she’s pregnant, even though she admitted it was really unlikely and she’d already done a pregnancy test that was negative… Went on and on about being fat but literally took any opportunity to stuff food down her neck, but also had some specific dietary requirements which again seemed really attention seeking… Spoke in a baby voice the whole time and acted helpless, like she couldn’t negotiate public transport etc…) It was just infuriating. I think the entire other three of us were done with her by the end of the weekend. I felt kind of bad for her in retrospect but she was really hard to be around. (I haven’t mentioned most of her strange behaviour. It was odd.)

Aside from that though, we had a great time. Tbh it’s not that I didn’t want to see Friend 3, but it was just sort of a shock. Particularly as we had all gone into the weekend thinking Friend 2 would be the one needing support, because of having just split up with her husband and the father of her child, but she was completely fine and seemed to be coping well, whereas Friend 3 just seemed to be having difficulty with life. But I think some people are just drama queens. We still had a fantastic time – we went for afternoon tea (obviously – I planned this weekend) and to a show, and to brunch, and it was also really nice to see Friend 2’s parents again, as that’s where we stayed for the weekend. (I live in London but have a 1 bedroom studio apartment so couldn’t easily fit in guests. They live in a 4 or 5 bedroom mansion in the posh bit of London!)

Afternoon tea

I got everyone presents! I love getting presents. We all had the same handbag in different colours. I was glad I got the rose gold one! I was going to assign colours but then did it randomly (I’d wrapped them all up) and it was cool how everyone got a colour they liked and pretty much how I would have assigned them. Serendipity! I also got us all matching rings from Pandora. Slightly less extravagant than it seemed as they were in the sale, but still serendipitous! They loved them. I just really enjoy being at the stage of life where I can afford to treat people once in a while. It felt sort of sisterhood-y!

On the Sunday we went out for brunch which is one of my favourite things to do. I had pancakes, and a side of crispy bacon… Oh yeah. Lovely.


So all in all we had a great weekend! Lots of sitting around and lying in bed chatting, so it was like being back at school. But in a good way, as I hated school! I guess it was funny about Friend 3 because she was so confident at school… She was the really popular one. I guess it’s sad in a way to see someone who has turned into a neurotic wreck. We all did get a bit impatient with her, but I think we were nice to her, and as the days go by I feel more sympathetic to her (when I’m not directly exposed to her!). It’s funny how life turns out. Friend 2 and I were reflecting on the fact that we were the losers at school and we are probably the most sorted in terms of being able to deal with life! (Well, we’ll both be divorced eventually so I’m not sure if that’s a good thing – maybe it says something about how having a hard time at school gives you resilience to get through tough things in life.) One of the things I enjoyed was showing off London to them – even though I’m not a native Londoner, I am the one who lives here so planned most of the activities and it was sort of fun to show it off to them. I feel like it’s definitely my adopted hometown and I intend to live here until America finally lets me emigrate, so it’s good to feel a bit like a local!

 

Week 8 scan

I had a few days off work before starting my new job, and the day before my first day was my 8 week checkup with Dr S (the private doctor I’m paying to see who specialises in reproductive immunology – I am following a borderline protocol as tests show I had an elevated natural killer cells reaction to pregnancy).

I was worried, even though we had been discharged by the clinic to the NHS. T couldn’t make it because Dr S is outside of London and it was a weekday… So although T was completely positive, I was worried. My only other experience of this is around this time last year where we were told that the baby wasn’t growing and I was going to have a miscarriage. I did feel slightly better following our 7 week scan, but I was still really apprehensive. I was due to have an intralipids infusion as well, as I need to have one every 4 weeks assuming the pregnancy still goes ahead. I think we have them until 16 weeks.

Dr S’s office is very posh and my sister and I joked about the strawberry water… She had her results the same week with Dr S and is reasonably sure she’ll be going ahead with treatment with him. We both love the strawberry water in the waiting room! (TryTryAgain will be familiar with this! And Dr S helped her become a mama so I reckon strawberry water is good!)


So I popped into the examining room, and had the scan.

Dr S had to dig around for a bit… I was beginning to feel a bit bad… But our baby was there!

Measuring exactly 8 weeks – exactly to the day!

I also heard his heartbeat which was 167. (Well, I couldn’t really hear it but he kept playing it and showed it on screen so I did hear something in between all the noise.) Apparently that’s good! Dr S said anything between 100 and 200 was good. He said I should be happy because he’s developing exactly as he should be.

Next appointment is in 2 weeks and I managed to get a weekend one, so T will be able to come and see the scan. The midwife said it should be a lot clearer by then. (Baby still looks like a blob. But I did see the heartbeat. And the important thing is, he’s grown!)

I was so relieved!

Breathe… Out…

I am beginning to feel better about the pregnancy. I’ve spent a lot of it in a state of anxiety and trying not to get my hopes up, but lately I have been thinking more and more that it might actually work. I feel like: If we can get to 12 weeks, I will feel a helluva lot better. 

T is so happy about it. He just assumes it will happen. I keep saying “if”, but I’m allowing myself to feel a bit more optimism. The midwife who gave me the intralipids was really nice, and said it is completely different this time. I just have to try and get through the next few weeks and hope we can make it into the second trimester (and beyond).


My vein worked this time! Yay. It was quite easy, which is a good thing because the last time I had the intralipids it took ages and was really slow to go in. Phew, as I have to have two more of these if all goes according to plan.

I kind of can’t believe I’m still pregnant. It doesn’t feel real, although of course I have the symptoms of humungaboobs and weight gain. I also feel sick when I’m hungry. I asked the midwife about it and she said, you realise that the steroids will be masking many of the symptoms (like sickness)… That actually made me feel better about not having morning sickness or whatever. And it makes sense as I haven’t had hayfever either. Bonus! I do feel very uncomfortable in my own body right now (massive weight gain; my face doesn’t feel like mine with the steroids as it’s swollen up). I just have to tell myself it will be worth it in the end. I’m sort of becoming used to this new reality of being pregnant, but I’m also aware of how fragile it is; how easy it is for it to be snatched away. I’m trying to take each day as it comes. Two weeks until the 10 week scan…

 

New job!

I started my new job the next day. Crazy. I’m glad I didn’t have to go in on bad news. All change! Well, I had a great first day. It took me a bit longer to get there than expected, but I managed to make it just in time. (Phew.) Then I got a call from my boss. Turns out he’d been called away and couldn’t meet me, so told me just to do all the induction stuff. Usually on first days you have loads of stuff to go through, picking up your laptop and whatnot, so I just got on with that. I also met a load of new people and they were really nice.

Also, as an aside, I felt encouraged when I walked into the office and there were loads of non-white people, loads of women… Just such a more diverse place than I was at previously. It makes a huge difference to how I feel. I explained to one of the guys that I was always the only female, the only ethnic… He had worked there for 12 years and he found that really surprising because he said he always felt the numbers of women and men were the same. At any rate, it was a nice thing to see people of my ethnicity in the workplace.

The other thing is that it just seems a positive place so far! For one thing, they have a lot of smiley people. For another thing… free drinks fridges! (T was overjoyed when I told him they had an entire shelf of ginger beer!) Free nespresso. Free cereal. Free fruit! They really want you to have your five a day! I don’t know, it tickled me. It made me feel like it’s a small thing they can do that cheers up the workers. Anyway, I’m very hopeful about the place.

The second thing is my boss said he wasn’t around on Friday so to take the day off, because I won’t have anything to do! Seriously! He said just to enjoy the weather, because, I quote, “There’s plenty of time to work your ass off – why not kick off your heels and enjoy the weather?” I kid you not! So funny. Also, I picked up all my tech (new nice laptop and phone) and it all worked! That never happens!

I think this may be the best job I ever had!


 

 

And finally… New house!

I don’t know if this is just the way things work out, but after about 5 months of waiting and getting frustrated about nothing happening with the house (well, small flat) – we exchanged today!

This means we expect to complete in a couple of weeks! Crazy!

 

So… It’s all go in the Nara/T/Dog household. Dog is absolutely adorable, and I’m quite partial to T too.

 

Next steps:

10 week checkup with Dr S on Saturday 24 June. We’re also having the harmony and nuchal scans so I’ll have bloods taken then, and a dose of intralipids. I’m still on all the steroids and supplements. I think we start weaning off them at 12 weeks, if we make it that far.

For today: I’m pregnant! I have a new job! (There’s a separate post somewhere down the line if we make it that far about how I’m not entitled to maternity leave… But we’ll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.) Life is okay for now.

Coming soon: New house!