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....