Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Where to start??

As only a person who knows they have to be up early can, I spent half the night reading through my old posts on my trusty Blackberry. Imagine my surprise when I realised our story ended at 16 weeks pregnant and a wish for smooth sailing from there on in. As if?!!

Shortly after my most recent post my lovely husband was offered a job. It was in the right industry, an instant start date and had good career prospects, what is the problem then I hear you cry. It was in Leeds! Yet another move, yet another new city and yet another long distance from everyone we know and love. A job is a job though and in our situation who were we to turn it down.

We made appointments to view houses, went on a road trip and found the perfect place, it was a gorgeous old mill conversion and we could really imagine our little family living there. What could go wrong? The landlord could let it privately without telling the agents, that's what!! So the next day there we were again, on the M1 spending petrol and lunch money we could ill afford on our second trip to Leeds in 2 days. This time we had somewhere specific in mind, it looked perfect, surely we couldn't be gazumped again. And we weren't. I sit in my gorgeous flat writing this overlooking the huge gardens, tennis court, free gym and residents bar a firm believer that everything happens for a reason!

We packed up our lives yet again and made the move, hoping this would be the one to bring the stability we were so desperately craving. Around this time I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy. We took the Mum's along to meet Stewie at the 20 week scan and were reassured that Stewie was settled in with no intentions of going anywhere.

Up until this point I was still swinging from total conviction that things would be fine this time to blind panic that something would go wrong. I spent the morning of my 20 week scan on the bathroom floor at my in laws house sobbing hysterically following my ill advised google of problems that can be detected at the 20 week scan. Something about our 5th scan set my mind at rest and from that day on positivity was the order of the day.

The next few weeks passed by in the blur of setting up a home for our soon to be 3 family and meeting some of the lovely BE girls in the area. As much as I loved Edinburgh and was devastated to leave, it took a long time to feel like home and I never felt settled there. Something about Leeds (well technically we are closer to Bradford) felt like home straight away.

Before I knew it the day I had been dreading was upon us. Lumpy's due date! Stewie obviously sensed that it was a significant day and not be upstaged chose this day to make his presence known. On what should have been a sombre day I felt my babies movements for the first time and suddenly I knew why we had been through what we did, it all had a purpose, Lumpy wasn't meant to be, Stewie was!!!

Being in my 20+ weeks of pregnancy there seemed no point looking for work, especially since I had no intentions of returning after Stewie was born so I spent this time as any expectant mother with too much time on their hands would. Reading books, magazines, leaflets, websites and even at one point watched the NHS provided breastfeeding DVD. I became an aficionado on all things pregnancy and felt totally prepared for the birth.

Soon it was time for the eagerly awaited antenatal and NCT classes. I went along with a thirst for knowledge, only to discover I knew as much, if not more, than the class instructors. My time spent researching apparently far more effective than £180 worth of NCT classes!!

Believing we were out of the dramatic woods and with a holiday, Christmas, birthdays and my baby shower to look forward to, I filled my diary for the last weeks of pregnancy, hoping filling my days would make time fly by. What I failed to realise was that having an aquanatal class on Monday, antenatal on Tuesday and a birthday party on Saturday does not make Wednesday, Thursday and Friday go any faster!!

So there I was beached on the sofa surrounded by chocolate wrappers and water bottles watching Lie To Me, my new favourite show when I realised the I couldn't see a corner of the screen. It slowly got worse until I couldn't focus on the TV and I had a psychedelic type black and white pattern across most of my vision. Recalling my reading into pre-eclampsia I panicked and called NHS direct who said it was a migraine and to take some paracetamol and rest. It soon subsided and I put it to the back of my mind.

A week later and during the NCT breastfeeding session the visual disturbances returned, this time worse, totally obscuring my vision of the creepy plastic doll who was 'in the perfect position to latch'. I grinned my way through the rest of the class, too embarrassed to say anything, then stumbled to my car and sat waiting for my vision to return. Later that day we attended NHS antenatal classes and I told the midwife running the class what had happened. She sprang into action testing my blood pressure -elevated, and urine - containing protein. All this together was not looking good and my plans for a care free end to my pregnancy were looking unlikely.

An appointment was made with my consultant for a few days later to monitor the situation. All the tests came back normal and yet another flash in the pan seemed over!! Onto the next problem, my stubborn baby being breech! I ummed and ahhhed for weeks over my options, an ECV or a cesarean section. Neither seemed all that fun! So still confused I waddled off to my appointment only to be told baby had turned and was now head down.

Everything was lined up for my natural water birth! All I needed now was time to hurry up! Our holiday came and went, Christmas flashed by and before I knew it I was 25 and my due date had come and gone. I went for the dreaded sweep and went home to wait it out some more. An appointment was made for the 6th of February, 11 days past my due date, for me to be induced.

I had been made aware by many other pregnant women over the years that people asking if the baby is here yet is the most irritating and unwelcome question in the world. How right they were. I was suffering with heartburn induced insomnia, most days not falling to sleep until 4-5am. So imagine how hilarious I found it to have my aunt ring every morning at 8am on her way to work asking if the baby was here yet? I resorted to screening her calls and leaving my phone on silent, undeterred she began the morning ritual by first ringing my mobile, then the house phone, then my husband and finally my Mum. Take the hint!

The 5th of Feb was upon us, my husband finished for the day at lunchtime and we went for a long walk along the canal. Well at the time it felt like a long walk, in hindsight it was a gentle stroll. I heaved my considerable body weight home and began nesting. Trying to get the flat clean and tidy ready for us to go into hospital the next day.

At 3.20am that night I woke up to go to the toilet. After I clambered back into bed I felt a trickle and jumped up as energetically as someone 42 weeks pregnant can do and switched on the light to find a small wet patch on the sheet where I had been lying and a trail of water following my path across the bed. I sat on the edge of the bed in shock not sure what to do next. I felt a small tightening across my stomach and got very excited. This is it, labour is upon us!! I timed the next 1o 'contractions' 6 minutes apart and then woke my husband. He seemed very unconcerned by my pathetic attempts at contractions but suggested I ring the labour ward non the less.

The midwife on the phone seemed even less impressed and said I clearly wasn't in labour but to go in anyway to be examined in case my waters had indeed broken. Over the next hour of packing up to leave, driving up to the hospital and stopping for snacks and the cash machine on the way I realised the midwife was indeed right, they weren't contractions. These were!!! As they rapidly increased in strength and got closer and closer together I eagerly awaited the midwifes examination. Recalling the antenatal classes promises that contractions lasting a minute, 5 minutes apart would mean labour was well on its way, I felt my 45 second long, 2 minute apart contractions had to be good news.

I am now of the opinion that 1 of the 3 year long midwifery course is spent doing medical training, the other 2 years is spent training in combat for the time when they have to tell women in excruciating pain... "You are not in labour yet!" The 6 words I hope never to hear again!

An examination put me not even 2cm dilated and Stewie in a very unhelpful back to back position. This went some way in explaining how intense and painful my contractions had gotten very quickly. I was advised to stay upright, move about lots and was given some co-codamol as 'pain relief'. I put pain relief in inverted commas because as any woman who has been through labour knows co-codamol is about as useful as a chocolate fire guard.

I asked at this point about my options for a water birth which were quickly denied. My consultants assurances that there was no reason why I couldn't have a water birth were in direct conflict with the labour wards no fat birds policy! I was offered a bath but reminded to stay upright. I heard wet knees are a well known natural analgesic!! The bath did nothing but irritate me and enhance my desire for Proper pain relief so I got out, wrapped myself in the hand towel provided, highly useful for heavily pregnant women in labour, and trudged back to my room stopping for several gut wrenching contractions on the way.

I would love at this point to give you an eloquent concise account of what happened next however the best I can offer is that at some point in the next few hours I was given gas and air, got high as a kite and dilated more.

At a guess I was examined around 5pm and was told I was almost fully dilated but had a lip on my cervix not dilating and I was told to resist the urge to push. If this has never happened to you it's similar to being told to resist the urge to sneeze. There is very little you can do about it! After what felt like hours of complaining about needing to push the evil midwife finally allowed it and I ditched the gas and air and started pushing for real.

Again I have very hazy memories of this and can only remember being very annoyed with the midwife asking me to push harder and longer. I had nothing left to give and felt she was being very unreasonable.

After 35 minutes of pushing my baby boy, Felix Samuel was born at 6.59pm on 6th Feb. Exactly a year to the day since losing our Lumpy.

Like I said. Everything happens for a reason.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

It's been a while...

Well the last time I was here was shortly before my 8 week scan to check the viability of the pregnancy.

I am pleased to report all was well, there was a nice strong heartbeat and a little baby that according to my husband looked like a dog. We went straight to see both sets of parents and shared our news. Unlike the last time, it was met with positivity and lots of excitement!!

Things progressed well, I met my midwife who took more blood than I thought any person had flowing around them, did all the standard tests and booked me in for my 12 week nuchal translucency scan to assess the risk of down syndrome.

The 4 weeks passed quickly and before we knew it we were back in hospital having the 12 week scan and yet more blood taken, surely soon I will look like a prune? Despite the miserable sonographer we had an amazing time seeing our baby, now named Stewie for the duration of my pregnancy. Stewie had a good wriggle around on the screen, laying still just long enough for the picture to be taken. We ordered one each for ourselves and both sets of parents and set off feeling very pleased with ourselves for managing to grow a healthy baby this time, sparking the affectionate nickname of grobag!

The feeling was short-lived. 5 days later I developed strong abdominal cramps. They felt very similar to the urinary tract infection I suffered with during my previous doctor so I visited the out of hours doctor who, having made me wait in the swine flu infested waiting room for half an hour, instantly started discussing miscarriage! It was not the response I had expected and as is to be expected in any pregnancy much less one following a miscarriage, we were instantly terrified we were going to lose Stewie, this time in a much more dramatic style than Lumpy.

I was referred to the hospital for an emergency scan the next day. We visited the antenatal clinic at the hospital and were pushed from pillar to post trying to find where the scan was booked, finally ending up in the gynaelogical assessment unit. Over an hour and a half later we were called in, the details we had given the doctor the previous night were completely ignored and we were asked everything again and then sent to wait some more.

We finally got scanned, and straight away we saw Stewie on the screen doing what can only be described as a headstand waving his arms about as if to steady himself. Instantly reassured we thought the cramp was nothing until the sonographer identified an area of bleeding from my placenta. I was sent home and told to perhaps expect some bleeding.

After nearly 3 weeks we presumed the bleeding wouldn't happen. Then after a busy weekend I visited the toilet to find the sight every expectant mother dreads. Thinking finding bleeding is the worst possible scenario, I discovered having to inform my husband of said discovery is the worst possible scenario! I called NHS Direct and unsatisfied with their prognosis of go home and rest, we went to A&E. They were fantastic and saw me within minutes. All dressed up in my gown with my canula in my arm I was poked and prodded by a doctor who could have been no older than 12!! He told me I had to go back to the dreaded gynae assesment unit the next day.

Following another long wait we recieved very little reassurance from them and were told to go home and wait for 5 days before they would scan me! The very long 5 days passed and I finally went for my 4th scan!! I spent a very restless night dreading getting there to find Stewie asleep. The law of sod of course intervened and as I dreaded, Stewie was fast asleep and completely immobile as I was scanned, the only reassurance was a very visible heartbeat and the occasional waft of the arm as if Stewie was telling us to leave him alone and let him sleep. The sonographer was very thorough and took lots of measurments which showed his growth to be perfect for our stage of pregnancy.

So finally I am writing this at 16+4, hoping for a stress free remainder of my pregnancy. No more late night hospital visits, DEFINATELY no more trips to the dreaded gynae assessment unit and nothing but scheduled check ups and scans!

On the brightside we now have a record of Stewie's growth with an 8 week, 12 week and 16 week scan picture. We are lined up for a 20 week scan so I just need to work on the consultant for 4 weekly scans from there until birth to keep the pattern up. Something tells me it may be a resounding no!!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

4 days and counting

My prognosis of a busy few weeks to take our minds off the mind numbingly slow wait were of course optimistic. Over the last few weeks we have done not a lot and I have been suffering with every single part of that not a lot. It has been a slow few weeks made even slower and longer by terrible nausea that is inescapable. For the first week or so a glass of something fizzy and something bland, croissant, toast etc did the job and saw off the waves of nausea for a few hour. For a while breakfast foods became my staple diet and I didn't care, it worked.

All good things come to an end. Now I am trying one remedy after the other, each as ineffective as the last at trying to control the by now overwhelming queasiness. It has finally been decided the only way of coping is a bland light meal, something cold and wet, be it an ice lolly, ice cubes, water or fruit juice and an early night.

This constant nausea is made worse by a mild case of emetophobia. A condition who's sufferers have a fear of sick. This began to plague me in my late teen years and has become worse of late. At first is presented itself as merely a concern that my husband would be sick. This escalated to my fear of him and other people being sick, accompanied by hot flushes, a raised heart rate, and trouble breathing. This has now morphed to include a fear of myself being sick, something I realised recently when I noted I have not been sick for over 9 years!

A fear of vomiting and morning sickness do not go hand in hand and so far I have succesfully fought off the nausea, if today is anything to go by, this may not continue much longer!

I have also been sleeping as though I have been on a 4 day drinking session. I tend to go to bed, but not sleep, at around 10pm, read or watch my now favourite series, Sex and the City, and then finally sleep only to wake about 14 hours later ready to go back to bed. It is a good job I don't have a job at the moment, I am sure I would be sacked for sitting down gulping air to fight back nausea and then falling asleep at 10am!

Due to our 'history' we were promised an early scan in our next pregnancy. However, we now live 350 miles away from the early pregnancy unit that promised the early scan. I had heard bad things about our now local EPU so I rang with much trepidation hoping they would take pity.

After being bounced from one hospital to another I found the right person and played the part of the new mother to be and explained everything that happened to us with Lumpy. Fortunately she took pity and made an exception to their 'no self referral' rule due to our history and the obscene wait to register at our local doctors surgery. As a result I have a scan booked for Thursday 25th June when I will be exactly 8 weeks pregnant.

4 days and counting.

It has been a long journey to this point, one which makes the seemingly short wait until the scan endless. At the back of my mind I have all the normal concerns of a young mother to be. These are amplified by our past experiences. Yet somehow under it all I have a calm positive attitude. Yes I am terrified of it being bad news. Yes every twinge and pain fills me with dread. Yes I visit the toilet 10 times a day to ensure there is no bleeding. But somehow I know it will all be ok.

The overwhelming feeling that it will all be ok brings with it a new set of challenges. So deep set it my conviction that this is going to be a healthy pregnancy, it scares me. What if things don't go right? What if they say there is no baby or worse a baby that is hanging on but won't make it? I can't go through that pain again, a pain that will be made worse by my all encompassing belief that it was all ok. I want to be negative so I am prepared for the worst.

So the next 4 days will pass by in a schizophrenic blur of negativity, positivity and downright fear.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, 8 June 2009

The one we have all been waiting for...

In the immortal words of Julie Andrews, I'll start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start...

My last message was one of hope, optimism and holidays so thats where I will begin.

We packed up, inevitably, way too much stuff. I performed the rare routine of cleaning our house from top to bottom before leaving in order to leave the house in a viewable state if a viewing was arranged for while we were away and off we went.

My sudden onset of positive mental attitude that month and glowing reviews on my Baby Expert lifeline had pursuaded me to part with my hard earned cash and I bought some ovulation predictor tests, determined to do all we possibly could in order to maximise our chances of conceiving that month. I had been taking them for days with no positive result. Then out of nowhere the morning we were packing up to leave I got a darker, but still not positive, line. That was enough for me and we had spent the previous few days practising our baby dance so I knew we were well on our way to fulfilling our conscious part of the process.

I had already decided even if ovulation wasn't complete before we went away I was going to leave the sticks at home and enjoy our holiday without having to not drink and not wee for a certain amount of hours each day just to test, not easy when you are swimming!

After getting stuck in what felt like the longest queue ever we pulled up outside our apartment, unloaded the car, hired some bikes and settled in to our much needed holiday. We had an action packed week of indulgence, swimming, cycling and baby making planned.

Of course the best laid plans blah blah blah. The worlds worst cold had other ideas!! I woke up on Saturday morning, the first full day of our holiday completely bunged up and with a sore throat that bore an uncanny resemblance to the tonsilitus that has plagued me since childhood. Off I was marched to the medical centre to be told the fatal words, lots of rest and no swimming. That didn't fit in too well with our plans. My miscarriage induced neurosis doesn't allow me to take anything that is not allowed during pregnancy when we are past ovulation in case this was our month so I struggled through remedy free for as long as I could.

2 days and lots of whining later I was force fed lemsip capsules and taken for a swim. The plunging head first into water did the trick and cleared me long enough to enjoy a meal and bikeride before I became a petri dish of germs once again.

The penultimate day of our holiday was spent in the utter bliss of the private spa. Although I was booked in for a facial I opted for Hopi Ear Candles instead in the vain hope they would clear my ears enough for me to be able to hear, it worked, for about 10 minutes until I needed to blow my nose again and I was once again cast into the world of fuzzy noise. I wandered in and out of sauna's, jacuzzi's, turkish baths and swimming pools all the while worrying that I might have a tiny bean growing inside me that would not be as fond of the humidity as me.

Finally it was time to go home, our immaculate house returned to its usual chaotic self and the packing process begun.

I had long since decided that if the evil Aunt Flo didn't make her appearance I would wait until the day we were finally moved to take a test for two reasons, first and foremost that my husband is a worrier and wouldn't allow me to lift a single box should I be pregnant and also because the longer I could hold off testing the less time I would have to wait until I would be able to go for an early scan. The less time I had to wait means the less time I have to worry.

However my horrendous now 10 day old cold put paid to that plan and at a mere 9 days past ovulation I decided I would test the following day for no other reason than a big fat positive would give me good reason to live with my awful cold. A big fat negative would make me be more patient and another negative test a few days later would see me overdose on lemsip and decongestants.

I went to the shops and bough 4 first response tests, renowned for identifying pregnancy much earlier than most other tests. There I was again, back to my expensive habit.

The next morning I woke at 2am desperate for a wee, I forced myself back to sleep and at 5 decided to give it up and wee. Out came the first response and my orange (the colour of fertility) cup. I peed in the cup dipped the stick and closed my eyes for a minute to wait for the test to season. The next few minutes were spent moving the test around in the light to try and see if the line that was appearing was a figment of my imagination or was actually there.

I went downstairs, stick in hand, and tried to take a photo of the test to see if the line was visable on film. After a few sleepy attempts at focusing the camera I returned to the bathroom to dip a cheap superdrug test for a second opinion. Again a line appeared cementing what I had somehow known all month.

I am pregnant!

I returned to bed unable to sleep, I rolled around calculating due dates, how far gone I would be at my friends wedding, at our holiday in December and how many days early the baby would need to be for it to be born on my birthday (7 days). At this point miscarriage did not enter my mind. I am hoping that was a sign that I have no reason to worry.

About 20 minutes after I returned to bed, clearly disturbed, up he got to go to the loo. I held my breath waiting for his response. I heard some shuffling around followed my silence. My heart fell, had the line disappeared, had he not seen the tests next to the sink? Preparing myself to go and check he shouted, are these lines dark enough?? Recalling the words of wisdom so often spoken on Baby Expert I replied, a line is a line!! I am not sure if my cold was better that day or if I didn't care but it certainly didn't bother me as much.

Over the next few days I used up my stash of tests so lovingly collected over the previous few months. 5 cheap superdrug tests and all 4 of my first response tests took me step by step, line by line to Friday, the day she was due to haunt me and the benchmark I had set in my mind. Out came the big guns, the one we all look for, the ultimate confirmation. The clearblue digital. There were the words everyone woman trying to concieve wants to see.

Pregnant 2-3 weeks (weeks for illustration purpose only)

It was about this time panic set in, what if it goes wrong again? What if I don't have a bleed this time and go to my scan thinking everything is fine? What if they won't let me have an early scan?

All of the fears I was expecting finally started to haunt me and still do. While my instinctive positive feeling helps keep me calm and the new additions of morning sickness, sore back and sensitive nipples are reassuring, nothing can combat the built in barrier a miscarriage will cause you to put up.

This time in my last pregnancy I had ordered a baby book, started talking names and chosen a buggy. Now I am a little older, a little wiser and a little more cautious. I have not told anyone and will keep it that way until after we have seen that precious heartbeat on screen and have been told that everything is ok. Until then I will reserve 25% of my emotions for my pessimism, if I expect things to go wrong it will be less of a shock if it does.

I am now 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I have got a long 2 weeks and 3 days to go until my scan, given to me against normal policy, obviously my desperation translates over the phone!

Until then I have plenty of things to keep me busy, a hen do this weekend, job hunting and interviews, catching up with old friends and family since our move back to our 'home', (strangely I have never felt as far from home as I do now), and bringing our current home into this century!

Despite my reservations and concerns, nothing can take away from our excitement. Maybe, just maybe, life is back on track. After the horrible year we have had things have got nowhere to go from here but up. Lets hope our little Stewie is the first rung on the ladder back to our perfect life!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


The end is drawing near. We began the heart-renching closing down sale a little under 2 weeks ago expecting a long drawn out process of clearing the remaining stock. The increasing tourism trade, bargain hunting regulars and some drunk Irish golfers have made the sale a lot shorter and more painful than we imagined.

It's hard to know whats worse;
-Being treated like a bargain bin and watching the painstakingly folded cashmere sweaters being tossed around and haggled over for less than 70% their value,
-Having tourists say its a shame we will be closing with being so handy,
-Being told by our regulars what a fantastic job we were doing and how at any other time in the world's ecomony we would have a thriving business.

The answer is D, all of the above.

We have had some friendly competition with another local golf shop since we opened, made friendly only by my Husbands extention of an olive branch to end the bitter feud held with the previous owners. Our specialties were different, we had a more varied range, theirs was prodominantly top end. We offered the service of professional golfers and the full perks that came with that, they relied on customers with a 'more money than sense' attitude to golf brands and little technical knowledge of golf.

What is truly painful is that we know we offered a better service, better prices and a better location. However we are not bankrolled by misguided parents. We are going to go under and lose everything while we have been infinately more sucessful than them and they continue to plod along losing money along the way.

We have been faced with many opportunities to stick out our bottom lips and cry at the top of our lungs, IT'S NOT FAIR! But we won't. We will close with dignity, we will offer better customer service until the last item is sold and we will lock the doors for the last time with tears in our eyes and lead in our hearts knowing that the only consolation to this is that we know we did nothing wrong.

Everything that went wrong was outside of our control. The recession was not our fault. The debilitating tram works that have made Edinburgh's city centre uninhabitable are not our fault. The banks unwillingness to lend money to struggling small businesses is not our fault and the lack of money coming into our till every day is not our fault!

We have no choice but to move on and look to the future and hope we have the opportunity again some day to have the success that was so cruely taken from us.

The last 2 years have been the best and most trying of our lives. A little over 2 years ago we moved to Edinburgh to follow what was then the perfect job for my Husband, combining every aspect of his working history in one job. 24 days later we got engaged which began my obsession and a saving/spending spree like no other. 8 months later and we bought and moved into our first home. 6 months after that sparked the beginning of our business, a theory at first which quickly snowballed into signing contracts and ordering stock, before we knew it we were company directors and owners of a shop. 6 months after that came out long awaited wedding and honeymoon, during which the first bank failure began the trend that would be the beginning of the end for our fledgling company. 3 and a bit months later came 2 pink lines quickly followed by the loss that would change us forever. Jump forward 3 months and here we are winding up our business on the back of the 2 most stressful, exhilirating and devastating years we could ever have imagined.

Optimism is what's needed. Positive Mental Attitude or PMA as us 'trying to conceive girls' like to refer to it as, something you need in abundace during the trials and tribulations that come with TTC.

Today is cycle day 4, flo is still plaguing me but is showing signs of being less forceful than usual. The few days of spotting I experience before full flow took hold took my last cycle to a more normal 27 days. It has been considerably lighter with fewer clots and almost no cramping. Completely unheard of since the loss of our baby.

I am hoping all of this is pointing to a more 'normal' menstrual cycle, and in turn, body. Which also poses the question, is my body now ready to recieve a fertilised egg and hold onto it this time?

Since we have had a successful closing down sale and we now have 2 and a half weeks between our official closing down date and our official moving date, we have taken this opportunity to book a much needed holiday. 7 days of rest and relaxation in the exotic location of Penrith. Whinfell Forest Centre Parcs to be exact.

Something tells me that the combination of my 'back to normal body', no stress for the first time in 2 years, and a week of relaxation and romantacism at the most fertile time of my cycle may produce positive results.

I was begining to wonder if we would benefit from taking a more controlled approach to TTC and begin to use ovulation predictors, basal body temperature measurements and observation of my cervical mucus as a way to predict my more fertile time in order to better our chances. However I don't think basal body thermometers and ovulation sticks really fit the bill for a relaxing week away so that idea is going out of the window. For this month anyway.

Following a slight mishap which resulted in my Husband and I in different restaurants about a mile apart this evening (we agreed to meet in Frankies, I ended up in Frankie and Bennies, him in Frankensteins) we discussed this month, the busy times that lay ahead in moving house at the end of the month etc. and our chances for conception. Before I had managed to share my above opinion on our improved chances he announced he had a 'good feeling' for this month. Smiles all round and my furious 20 minute dash across the city forgotten we enjoyed an obscene amount of food and settled into the evening together full of optimism!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009


I read something recently that said, "As soon as you find out you are pregnant you start worrying and worry until the day you die." I would argue you start worrying from the day you start trying for a baby. I have a whole list of things I worry about. Some of them even make me wonder why I am trying for a baby.

I am sat here on Sunday evening having got up some time around midday. I got out of my pajama's around 1pm to go to the supermarket to buy some dinner. I made a roast and since then have only left the sofa to go to the toilet. I am on my second film and have a nice warm lap having spent a day on my laptop (Congratulations by the way NN, I am so happy for you).

My friends Sunday will have been decidely different. An early morning start would begin in a flurry of soggy weetabix, mushy banana and milk splattered into the furthest reaches of the room. The cleaning up process takes double the amount of time the meal took, all the while trying to keep a breakfast fuelled toddler happy while they take it in turns to have a world record breaking shower. After that it's off to the in laws to be silently judged on every apsect of your parenting skills before forcing an overtired baby into their carseat to get home tired and stressed. While I wander to bed whenever I like, they will be into bed early ready for it all to start again tomorrow.

Our recent holidays have consisted of trips across America, good food and too much wine in Italy, a week by the pool in Tenerife and action packed weekends in New York and Paris. When you have children, luxury morphes from 5 star breaks in Hawaii to a cottage in Wales. If you are lucky you may get a hot-tub on some moulding B&Q decking outside the babies room!!

Nights out with our friends used to be frequent, alcohol fuelled late nights. Now they are over before they have started. First the phone call to check the baby has settled, regular 15 minute check ups and finally home by 9 to let the babysitter go home. Not a drop of alcohol is consumed, who wants to be hung over when they are woken up at stupid o clock?

Its enough to make me wonder why I am trying with every ounce of my being to become a mum.

The answer lies in the look in a mothers eyes when they hold their baby for the first time. The overwhelming love you feel as you feed your tiny baby and know that act is sustaining them and nurturing their tiny bodies. The carnal need to protect that tiny person that is a part of you. The happiness you feel as they crawl for the first time, the inexplicable sense of pride when their first tooth makes an appearance, they pull themselves up for the first time and take those long awaited first steps!

I had the fortune to be a nanny for a little boy for a year. I saw those first landmarks, I felt the pride as he bumshuffled his way towards me, I felt the surge of love when I saw his face light up as I entered a room and when he said my name for the first time. Keeping him safe, happy and healthy was my job but I still felt a huge sense of acheivement and an overwhelming need to protect him. It scares me that I felt that strongly for this little boy who was not mine. If I felt like that for him then how will I feel for my own? That feeling amplified must make you feel like your heart is going to explode!!

My fears start with trying for a baby, having now been trying for 4 months since losing our first little angel, my irrational fears of not being able to get pregnant are starting to resurface. When I do get pregnant there will be the inevitable fear of losing the baby again! Then come fears about giving birth. Will I cope with the pain? Will I bond with my baby? Is the baby putting enough weight on? Is he eating enough? Is he eating too much? Shall I breast feed or bottle feed? Should I use disposible or reusuable nappies? When should I wean him? How long do I have to sterilise everything? When can I give him cows milk? Why is potty training taking so long? Which playgroup should I put him in? What school's catchment area are we in? What GCSE's should he take? How do I tell him I hate his first girlfriend? What should the mother of the groom wear? Is she holding the baby right? Before you know it you are silently judging your new daughter in law on her parenting skills when they come round for Sunday Lunch!

It occurs to me my biggest fear is inadequacy! I am scared of getting that much coveted baby and then wanting my old life back. I am terrified of making decisions that impact negatively on our or our babies lives. I am frightened that all those time I have judged people on their choices are going to come back and bite me in the backside! I want more than anything to be a Mum but I am frightened of failing!

But I know I won't fail, I know I will be a great Mum. My years as a nanny have taught me that children are resilient and parenthood is a learning curve that all people go through and most succeed with! I am lucky to have a head start on a lot of things but I am not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers! I have an amazing family to support me, friends who have already made the journey and an amazing husband who I can't wait to learn with!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Another month bites the dust

Well here she is again. The unwelcome guest, the visitor who outstays her welcome, the oh so ugly notification that, yet again, I am not pregnant. Another month goes by wasted. Or so I think, I am currently in the transition day that has become a fixture in my menstrual cycle that plays games with my head. One day there is bleeding, the next there isn't and then just when I start to think it may be good news, bam there she is to shatter my illusions. I have that joy to look forward to tomorrow.

I have been taking contraception for as long as I can remember, a side effect of a mis-spent youth and meeting my husband at the tender age of 16. First it was the pill, various different types until I found one that agreed with me. Then the move onto the injection until an ill-informed, hostile University Nurse bullied me into an implant. 2 years and a bucket load of evening primrose oil to combat breast pain later and I was back to the pill until our trying to conceive journey began. During this time I was fortunate enough not to have periods and despite a few pregnancy scares (oh the irony) it suited me well.

Obviously anyone trying for a baby doesn't want to see those telltale signs of spotting but after being bleed free for almost 8 years it is a real shock to the system to have them return. Along with it some subtle changes from the periods of old.

You see I was the text book, our biology teacher could have been describing me during lessons on the reproductive system and menstruation. Perfect 28 day cycles with a predictibility down to knowing what time of day she would appear. I was regular down to the point where my swimming teacher didn't even ask for a note any more, her register looked like this... 1st-tick, 8th-tick, 15th-tick, 22nd-red cross, 29th-tick etc.

8 years of (apparently unneccessary) hormones and a miscarriage later and my periods are a different kettle of fish. They start with a day of spotting, then a day of nothing and wondering if it was a sign of pregnancy. Quickly followed by a gush of bright red blood and the inevitable upset that ensues. 5 of the most painful, horrendous, disgusting, messy days known to man come next. Then after a few days of trying to pursuade my husband I am no longer a freak of nature that can bleed for days on end and not die, ovulation occurs a whole 4 days earlier than the text books tells me it should. Then comes a fairly normal 14 day luteal phase before the whole thing starts again. Throw into this some delightfully named 'extra wet cervial mucus', hot flushes, headaches and periods of unexplained clumsiness and you have my month in a nutshell.

Herein lies the problem. When did I stop being me? When did I turn into this neurotic mess who won't drink a glass of wine for 2 weeks every month 'just in case'? When did I become unable to start a sentence without the words, "I read something on babyexpert today..."? When did I change from wife, friend and colleague to the crazy baby lady? When, and possibly the biggest when, did I start looking at prices and offers on the Mothercare website when I am not even pregnant???


I ZB do solemnly declare that I am not longer going to be crazy baby lady, I will not obsess over Baby Expert, Mothercare or Mama's and Papa's websites. I will not look sadly into the bathroom cupboard at the pregnancy tests. I will not swear at the television when an advert for pregnancy tests comes on. I will not huff and scowl at pregnant women in public and I will try to hold a conversation that does not contain the words 'baby, pregnant, pushchair, extra wet cervical mucus, ovulation or 2 week wait'!!!

Until next month....