Tag: Secondtrimester

Life at the (almost) 11 month mark

Where on earth has the last year gone? I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I went on maternity leave and nearly 11 months since Baby Flat was born! Time has flown by and I’m really not sure where all the days have gone.  To be honest, they have all sort of blurred into one.

Motherhood is fantastic.  I don’t want to bang on about it too much, as I know how much it hurts to read that when you’re still trying to become a mother (or father).  All I will say is that I still don’t understand parents who constantly moan about how hard life is with children.  I still cringe at the Facebook posts about how grateful parents are that school has started again and they can “go back to work for a rest” and I still want to smack my head against a wall when I see memes like this (which I have seen most days over the past few weeks):

Meme

Maybe I am still far too sensitive about things, but I was never so exhausted as when I was desperately trying to have a child, waiting months to go from one fertility appointment to the next, having an invasive operation and having our IVF halted at the very last moment (all while trying to hold down a very demanding job and crazy commute). And none of that even compares to what so many people went through/are still going through in their fight to become parents.

As I have said before, I don’t think I will ever stop being grateful that things worked out for us and that we have a healthy child. I do find it odd when friends who also struggled go on to plaster Facebook with parenting nonsense like the meme above.  I don’t mean the friends who put up pictures of their babies (I secretly love the babies that were conceived after a struggle that little bit more), but the ones who will update about how much they want a break from the baby or how their baby is a “great contraceptive” because “nobody would have a second”.  I know I sounds harsh and sanctimonious, but how have they forgotten so quickly?

As it turns out, perhaps I should be a little less sanctimonious about the whole thing and stop waving my “it’s not always easy” flag. Apparently, I am the most fertile infertile there ever was, as I am currently 16 weeks pregnant.  I know.  WTAF?

Baby Flat the Second 

When I blogged a few months ago, I explained that we decided to start trying for a second very soon after Baby Flat was born.  We had been advised to wait at least a year because of the C Section, but after researching it and finding there wasn’t a huge increase in complications when a conception happened at 6 months post C section compared with 12 months, we decided to crack on.  Our logic was that it OBVIOUSLY wouldn’t happen any time soon, if at all, as we had taken years to conceive Baby Flat, we were both older, I’d been butchered by the C section and I was still mostly breast feeding. We felt that if we were not able to have a second, we didn’t want to look back and wonder if it may have been possible if we’d started trying before the 12 month mark.

So in the end it took us three months.  What even is that? That’s not even verging on trying.  It’s embarrassing and makes me cringe even thinking about it! Yes, we timed things and used OPKs and all that, but in our experience three months is the interval between each fertility investigation, not the entire time it takes to conceive a baby.

I fully appreciate that I am now a walking cliché.  I am the girl who fell pregnant the month her IVF was cancelled.  The girl who fell pregnant on holiday (although I did ovulate pre-holiday).  The girl who fell pregnant after she said she’d never go on birth control again, as Baby Flat was the miracle baby she never thought she’d have.

Seriously, I hate myself.  I do have had to deal with my fair share of inane comments though (“You fell pregnant so easily because your body now knows what to do”, which is pretty offensive anyway but also stupid considering the most serious of our fertility problems were male factor!).

BUT, I am once again so incredibly grateful to be pregnant.  I can’t believe this is happening a second time and we will hopefully have a second child.

So far this pregnancy has been quite different.  With Baby Flat, I felt pretty well until week 35 of the pregnancy but gained a heap of weight (about 5 stone / 70lbs!).  With this pregnancy, I haven’t gained any weight (I was fat to begin with though), but I have felt so unbelievably ill.  I am still sick and keep coming down with every viral infection going.  I have also had some nasty scares and have ended up in hospital with bleeding twice.  It is every bit as nerve wracking this time round, and I am certainly not taking anything for granted.

The Great North Run and Tommy’s

(*Trigger Warning* – I am about to talk about stillbirth, so please do not read if this will be triggering).

Although I am feeling awful, I am still hoping to run my half marathon this weekend.  My family don’t want me to do it as one of the bleeds I had was straight after running 10k.  I must admit, I do have reservations about attending the race and running and really don’t want to do anything that could harm the baby.  I feel I have to though, as I have raised money for Tommy’s (a charity that supports those who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth and which funds research into these issues) and I just don’t want to let the charity down.

Last month, a couple who are two of our best friends had a stillbirth.  I won’t say too much about their story, but this came after two miscarriages and over a year of trying before they became pregnant with this little boy.  They were so blissfully happy throughout her pregnancy and I just can’t get my head around how one couple can have so much suffering.   I know there is nothing I can do or say for them, but I feel like raising money for this charity is about the only proactive thing I can do.

Werk, werk, werk, werk werk

The other big thing that has affected me over the past few months is my job.  It’s a shame as I should have been allowed to enjoy my maternity leave and return to a supportive working environment.

I can’t face even wasting a tiny amount of energy writing down everything that happened with work over the past few months.  All I will say is that they did a lot of really awful, illegal things and pushed me to the point where I simply could not go back.  I ended up taking legal advice, and the employment lawyer was absolutely gobsmacked at some of the things they had done.  Not only because they broke so many laws, but because they were so brazen in the way they did it and because they left so much evidence (many professional services firms do similar things, but most know not to put incriminating things in writing!).  Anyway, the end result is I settled with them and left my job.

The whole experience was awful.  My confidence has been completely crushed by them and I am going to struggle to find work in that field again (a field I had to study for many years, do unpaid work to get the experience required, then work my arse off 24/7 to prove myself as a junior) .  In this line of work, they expect you to only take a few months of maternity leave at most.  As I will hopefully be off on maternity leave again from January 2018, and it’s unlikely I can find interim work before then, it will be a good two years of being out of work at the point I start applying again.  It makes me incredibly nervous for the future, and it also makes me incredibly angry that this is happening in 2017.

Still, I am trying to remain as positive as possible.  If it’s a choice between having a good career or a healthy child, let alone two healthy children (neither of which I thought possible two years ago), I know which option I’d pick!

x x x

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24 weeks!

Well I’m just over 24 weeks, which is great news!

Last Saturday I felt Baby kick properly for the first time.  Over the previous few days I had felt a few ‘flutterings’, but I wasn’t sure whether these were actual kicks or just muscle spasms.  Last Saturday evening, however, it felt slightly more pronounced so I felt more confident that they were really kicks.  BT even put his hand on my tummy and verified that they were GENUINE REAL LIFE kicks and not just my own delusions!

Fast forward a week, and last night (Saturday evening) we actually saw my tummy twitch when baby was kicking.  It wasn’t particularly obvious, but if we paid attention we could see it.

Both of these events were so overwhelming.  I had started to get a little worried that, at 23 weeks, I hadn’t felt anything, so I am so grateful that the kicks have started coming.  I don’t think I’ll ever be annoyed about him kicking me or moving around lots!

Unfortunately my anxiety about things going wrong is getting higher and higher.  It’s possibly exacerbated by everything that has been going on at work, meaning that my general anxiety levels are at an all time high anyway, then about two weeks ago it was reported that Tana Ramsay had miscarried* their child at five months, the same stage I am at.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the Ramsays, but it must be absolutely heartbreaking for them.  The media was then full of stories of people who had miscarried late in their pregnancies.  It was heartbreaking and terrifying.  Then last week one of BT’s friends announced that she had had a stillbirth at term.  I have never met her, but I just feel so devastated for her, her husband and their families.  Nobody should have that happen.  I just wish that there was something that someone could do or say to help them, but there just isn’t anything.

For all that I am terrified though, I am trying my best to just live in the moment and be grateful that right now things are ok.  We are getting to the stage where premature babies start getting much better survival odds, which provides a little reassurance.  At 24 weeks, between approximately 40-70% premature babies can survive (quite a big variance!) but by 27 weeks it will go up to more than 90%.  27 weeks is therefore a massive target!

So this weekend we are just trying to take it easy.  We don’t have any exciting plans, except looking after Dog and all the cats while my parents are away (a dog and four cats take up a lot of time and space! They also create a lot of mess 🙂 ).  I am trying to give Dog as much love as possible, as he really doesn’t have much time left.  His back legs have gone and his tumour is growing, so we know what we need to do, but every time we have the “is it time?” conversation he perks up and suddenly seems a little better (usually involving him stealing some cake from us or slobbering us with affection!) and we wonder if we’re being too hasty.

I also feel a little subdued because of the whole Brexit vote.  I appreciate this is just my opinion, but I find it unbelievable and I am so sad for the opportunities that will be taken away from future generations.  I genuinely think we will be worse off financially and that many people will lose their jobs, but what upsets me most is that a large part of my identity (and the identity of so many of my friends) has been taken away from us by people we just can’t respect or begin to understand.  Overnight, we have lost the freedom to easily work in 27 other countries and for those people to come to work in Britain.  While I personally do not have plans to work in any of those specific countries, a number of my friends do and a number of them have met their long term partners as a result of those opportunities.

There has been a lot of goading on Facebook from ‘leave’ campaigners** about how we are “sore losers” and how we cry for democracy but then don’t approve of it when we lose (thankfully I only seem to have about 5 or 6 of these people on my Facebook.  I am not just saying this as I am a “sore loser”, but most of those people just so happen to be genuine cretins).  The thing is, I do believe in democracy and I do understand that we lost and that I am ultimately going to have to accept that, but that shouldn’t have to stop me from feeling complete despair at the values and short-sightedness of so many of my neighbours and being devastated about what they have thrown away for the future.  Besides, this is something we can’t get back.  It is not like a national election, where you have the opportunity to change your mind four years later .  This is, unfortunately, forever.

Anyway, I told myself that I wouldn’t get too political in this post so I better stop now!

Right now the sun is shining, I’m surrounded by five animals (and a husband) and I’m away from my horrible job.  Things are good!

Have a good weekend everyone x x x

 

*I thought it was technically a stillbirth at this stage? i.e. after 24 weeks.  That said, the title doesn’t affect the the situation and feelings of those involved.

**In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I have not been particularly passive or polite on Facebook!

Pregnancy update!

Now onto the much more important update: my pregnancy!

I am still so grateful to have got to this stage.  I think back to just over a year ago and what a low spot I was in.  I was about to have a laparoscopy as they suspected endometriosis and I was in quite a state as I feared what this would mean for my ability to ever have children. I was exhausted from the months of TTC and was starting to feel the frustrations of the NHS fertility process.

I wish I had a way of letting FlatWhite of 2015 know that 2016 would be very different!

So I am now roughly 22 weeks.  The dates seem to change all the time, and the NHS scans seem to place me slightly behind the private scans we had a while ago.  I don’t think it particularly matters though.  I am just amazed to be able to say that I am around 22 weeks and am in the second trimester! Wahoo!

Thankfully the 20 week scan last week suggested that everything is ok so far.  We have also borrowed a Doppler so that we can listen to Baby FlatWhite’s heartbeat now and again (don’t worry – I’ve not gone too crazy with this!).

We are starting to get things for the baby and BT even painted the nursery (in his words, he enjoyed doing “man jobs”.  Don’t worry – I’ve already told him that he’s not to teach Baby FlatWhite that there are “man jobs” and “woman jobs”!).

It’s just nice to be able to relax a little and start to enjoy things.  I’m still incredibly nervous (well truth be told, we both are, but BT is stronger than me!), but each passing week gives me a little more hope.  We have even started buying a few things.

Our purchases so far have definitely focussed on the fun things, rather than the practical things.  A few friends have sent me lists of “essentials” that we need for a newborn, and in all honesty I found it totally overwhelming.

To date, here are a few things we have bought:

Perhaps not the most sensible things (except for the furniture and car seat) but they have made us both smile!!!  The Superman Swimsuit was actually bought by BT.  My parents suddenly came over so I sent him to the local supermarket to buy emergency tea, coffee and cakes (yes – a very British thing to do!).  Naturally, as you do, he came back with the Superman Swimsuit… (although you’ll be pleased to hear, he DID remember the cakes!).  Apparently the children’s swim stuff was in the entrance of the supermarket and BT’s heart just melted when he saw the Superman outfit! With the mix of Spiderman, Superman and Thomas the Tank Engine possessions, Baby FlatWhite may have a bit of an identity crisis (or perhaps just a loyalty crisis?)!

We have bought two or three baby grows and bibs and will probably pick up a few more things, but we are trying not to get too many ‘newborn’ things.  It may sound a bit silly, but my mum warned me that she never got to use the things she had bought as both me and my brother were big babies and never fitted into the newborn stuff. I think she’s exaggerating, but she told me I was in the 3-6 months after about two weeks! I was obviously destined to be a fatty.

So I’m just plodding along taking each day as it comes.  My weight gain has been appalling (in 22 weeks I have gained 24lbs!) so I don’t feel particularly great about myself.  I have also had terrible swollen feet, ankles and calves over the past week or so, which have been incredibly painful.  I think it’s due to the weight gain and the fact that we had a few “hot” (by British standards!) days over the past week.  None of it is fun, but for every week I am carrying a healthy baby I will suck up whatever is sent my way.

I am, however, a little worried about the healthy eating and fitness regime I need to start come November. I just hope I find the internal strength to do something about the weight.

Anyway, enough of me whining about my weight.  22 weeks down with a little boy on the way.  I am feeling incredibly lucky right now!

 

18 weeks!

***As the title suggests, my post below talks a lot about my pregnancy.  I’ve deliberately waited to post this until a few of you had some good news, but I appreciate that some of you are not having the best of times fertility-wise so may not want to read this right now.  Next time I’ll just put up a load of cat photos!!!***

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Wahoo! We’ve made it to 18 weeks.  I can’t believe we’re actually half way there.

In some ways the past 15 weeks or so (since we found out that I was pregnant) have been the slowest weeks of my life.  The wait to get the initial scan, then the times in between scans, have gone by agonisingly slowly and in all honesty I haven’t been able to relax and just “enjoy” pregnancy so far (cheers sub-fertility!).

On the other hand, it feels mad that we’re basically half way through a pregnancy.   After the years of trying and monthly disappointment and fighting for tests and operations and IVF referrals and having months pass between each stage of the fertility process, to be able to say after just 18 weeks that I am half way through a pregnancy just seems crazy.

So in good news, there is still a baby there.  Wahoo! We had a private gender scan a few weeks ago which was very exciting and made it feel even more real.

BG

From day one I have just ‘known’ we were having a boy (which is weird, because I usually don’t buy into that sort of stuff).  Everyone else, bar one friend, thought it would be a girl.  Anyway, our scan was pretty *ahem* obvious and I can report that we’re having a little boy! My intuition was clearly spot on 🙂Baby boyWe’re both over the moon, especially BT who admitted “every man wants a little mini-me”. (Although yesterday he said “every man wants a little girl because girls always dote on their dads”.  I think he’s a confused individual.)

The next step is to have the anomaly scan which is scheduled to take place in early June. That will be a huge step and I am so scared about something going wrong.  We have yet to make any concrete plans or buy a single baby item, as it all just feels too early and as if there are just too many hurdles to jump through.  When we try to explain this to people they almost always say “Well of course you’ll be fine”.  I guess people just don’t get it unless they’ve also struggled to get pregnant and/or have miscarried.

We’re starting to let everyone know about the pregnancy, which feels like a massive gamble.  We’re not making a big song and dance about it, but when people get in touch we’re casually mentioning it to them.  We’ve agreed we’re going to be quite upfront about how it hasn’t been easy and how it didn’t happen overnight.  While some people have been a little bit funny about it (“I don’t see why you feel the need to tell [people] that”“Well, because some people are f*cking ignorant and the more they learn about real life the better.  Also there’s a very high chance several of our friends are going through the same thing and if us being honest makes them feel a little less alone and desperate, then that’s good enough for me”).

On the whole people have been very supportive, ranging from “We essentially fell pregnant following a one night stand so can’t imagine what you have been through, but if you ever want to talk…” to one of BT’s best friends who messaged me about their own problems saying “We’ve been trying less than a year, but I always thought it would happen quickly.  As the months go by I feel like more and more of a failure, but you’ve given me hope that it will happen”.  It’s a funny old world.  You could never guess the people that fell pregnant easily and those that have struggled/are struggling/will struggle.  For all the guidance I have seen about not drinking/not smoking/not being overweight/not being underweight/not being brunette*, all my ‘unhealthy’ friends who wanted to get pregnant fell pregnant straight away and many of my ‘healthiest’ friends have struggled.  I hate that so many people blame themselves (as I did) when I really think in the majority of cases it is purely bad luck.

I still feel so strongly that infertility, sub fertility, IVF, miscarriage and adoption** need to be talked about more openly.   There shouldn’t be any shame or secrecy surrounding any of it, and people need much better access to professional help.  I have shared a few posts on Facebook about IVF recently (not one person commented, which says a lot) and I have already started preparing a few letters to local members of parliament (both where I live and where I work) requesting that they start allowing the full 3 NHS cycles of IVF.  It is not much at all, but it’s a start. Just because things are (hopefully) working out for me, I will never ever forget what it felt like or what so many women (and men) are going through (many of which have been battling for so much longer than we did and have been through so many cycles of IVF).

Anyway, enough chat from me today.  Have a lovely weekend everyone! I can’t wait to read about what you all get up to.

*This is a lie.  I have never seen this anywhere.  I wouldn’t be surprised of some “expert” says this though…

**I have added adoption because I got so sick of people saying “Why don’t you JUST adopt” or “Have you thought about adoption?”.  It just angers me so much, as there is so much ignorance and assumption around this subject.  We thought a lot about adoption, and I feel that at some point we will probably still explore this route, BUT there is so much you need to think about and you have to make many more sacrifices than you usually do when you have a biological child and it is something you both need to go into with your eyes wide open.