A little announcement – Mystery Mum

wpid-dsc_0379.jpgOur lovely anonymous blogger Mystery Mum has been trying to conceive her second baby for three months – and happily has a little announcement to make! We are so thrilled and excited to be with her at the very start of this life-changing journey.

So here we are. I’m pregnant!

Third time lucky as it turns out after two failed months of trying, so I know I certainly can’t complain. To be honest I’m still trying to get my head round the whole thing – I took the test nearly a week ago and still haven’t fully grasped that it’s actually happening.

I think it’s because after the initial shock and excitement of finding out dies down, this is actually the worst bit of pregnancy. At only 5+3 as I write this (to use BabyCentre message board parlance), it still feels ridiculously early in the day to get too excited. I still have the nagging doubt, as I’m sure most mums do at this point, that everything is about to fall down around my ears and our little bean will leave us no sooner than they arrived. It’s an awful period of limbo until the reassurance of a tiny heartbeat on a 12 week scan makes you truly feel ‘pregnant’.

But positivity is the only way forward and I’m fortunate that I feel well – other than being dog tired of course, and the fact that my boobs have taken on a life of their own and are currently attempting to make a break from my bra. It will not be too many weeks before my first purchase of the pregnancy will be a properly fitted maternity one to contain the pesky troublemakers. I have no nausea or sickness to contend with thus far which was fortunately the same in my first pregnancy. I had maybe four episodes of sickness the whole way through last time and I can only hope for the same luck this time around!

We have told parents and a handful of close friends our news, and today I told my work colleagues, which is a lot more people than we told at this stage last time. I think I am a lot more of the thinking now that if anything did go wrong at this early stage, I would value the support of those closest to me, just as I would if anything happened later on. There is little point in trying to hide it. We also haven’t told our little man yet, until we have a tangible scan picture to help him understand. On the bright side, it has been lovely getting lots of positive reactions from everyone at work, as everyone is excited for me – people are even talking about knitting little things for the baby which is a wonderful thought.

I am still reluctant to ‘go public’ with the pregnancy just yet though – much as I might like to shout it from the metaphorical rooftop that is Twitter and splash it all over my blog, I think restraint is called for now, to keep it special and personal for just a few more weeks. In the meantime, I am happy to be #MysteryMum!

Follow Mystery Mum on Twitter @BlogsForBabies – look out for #MysteryMum

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A plea to Mother Nature – Mystery Mum

bump question markMystery Mum is now into her second month of trying to get pregnant with her second baby. I think a lot of you will identify with her feelings of frustration and the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive, even at this early stage. We’re eagerly awaiting the next update!

So it turns out we couldn’t get lucky first time again.

Those of you who read my first post last month will know that we conceived our first baby almost without thinking, and I was still cautiously optimistic when I wrote that post that there was a chance it could happen again. Well, it didn’t, and I have learned my lesson for our second time of trying – Calm. The Hell. Down.

Riding on a wave of excitement and giddy anticipation I couldn’t wait to take a test, and did it as soon as I thought something might show up, about 4-5 days before my period was due. Negative. Not to worry, I thought, it’s still pretty early. I tested again on the day my visitor should have arrived. Negative again. And again two days later.

Now I was late, but without a positive test I just couldn’t relax. I felt emotionally all over the place, bursting into tears, then finding the whole ludicrous reaction to nothing in particular completely hilarious. I mentally ticked off each early pregnancy symptom I thought I was experiencing. There were more than a few. My nipples had taken on a life of their own and were protesting in discomfort at the slightest touch; I felt fatigued, bloated, anxious and more. If I wasn’t pregnant, what was going on?

At more than a week overdue, I caved and splashed out on a more expensive digital test, as if that might tell me something the cheaper supermarket ones would not. It didn’t. In fact, seeing the cruel words ‘Not pregnant’ spelled out in front of my eyes was about as much as I could take in my heightened emotional state. I resolved to wait until the following week and make an appointment to see my GP. Something must be wrong.

Maybe feeling like there was no more hope that I actually could be pregnant allowed me to relax just enough – the following day my period arrived. I had had a 37 day cycle, when I’m normally pretty regular between 26-28. Mother Nature had played a cruel trick – or had I brought it all on myself?

I was actually relieved that I had finally got my period – even as it meant we hadn’t got lucky – as it also meant that I had a resolution to over a week of emotional turmoil. We could move on. We could start a new month afresh. Maybe the fact that I felt so wound up about the whole thing had actually knocked my hormones out of whack from the start – had I ovulated late? Maybe. Did it delay the arrival of my period? Possibly. All I knew was I couldn’t go on like that month after month. We all know stress is not the friend of conception.

So this month I have learned my lesson. I’ve consciously tried to be more chilled out about the whole baby-making palaver, and kept my excitement and apprehension in check. I’ve stopped obsessively reading pregnancy websites, stopped symptom watching, stopped fretting about whether I am or not, and just got on with life. I won’t be taking any early tests. Hopefully all will be resolved again one way or another next week.

Maybe we’ll get lucky this time and maybe we won’t. Yes, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t, but not working myself into a frenzy about it has got to be better than the way I felt a few weeks ago. Let’s just hope Mother Nature’s on my side this time.

Follow Mystery Mum on Twitter @BlogsForBabies – look out for #MysteryMum

The longest wait – Mystery Mum

bump question markOur new Resident Blogger Mystery Mum is tired of waiting – pregnant or not pregnant? That is the question!

Mystery Mum is sharing her early pregnancy journey with us – starting with trying to conceive in the first place! You can read her posts on Blogs For Babies until she reveals all after the 12 week scan.

Waiting for something is always the hardest thing to do – Christmas morning, the start of a holiday, a desperately anticipated parcel – none of which compare to those drawn out two weeks from the point when you think you might have got everything where it’s supposed to go at the right time and possibly made a baby, to the first day of the unwanted visitor you hope doesn’t arrive.

The pregnancy forums on various websites refer to this time as the ‘two week wait’,  or ‘2WW’ to save on characters and precious seconds which could be otherwise spent frantically Googling early pregnancy signs in case you’ve got another one since the last time you checked.

Of course these days you don’t even have to wait two weeks to take a test, with some of the (obviously more expensive) tests claiming to give you a result up to 6 days before your period is due. Evidently, this will be too early for a lot of women to get a positive result though anyway, leaving them consigned to wait with the rest of us until those pesky hormones decide to make themselves known, or not as the case may be.

When I got pregnant the first time, I don’t remember being this hung up about the interminably long fortnight between the fun bit and  the moment of truth. Having almost made a snap decision that we wanted to start trying, I convinced myself that it couldn’t possibly work first time anyway, and didn’t give it a moment’s thought. We could really get started next month, I told myself.

I finally took a test when I was a week late and the little blue plus sign appeared in the window almost instantly. I paced the bedroom for a full ten minutes as I tried to comprehend the fact that we had managed to conceive a child with almost no effort, or planning, or obsessing over ovulation calculators. How lucky we had been when so many couples sadly struggle.

Second time around though, there has by necessity been more thought involved, more advance notice of the whole officially-trying-to-conceive bit, more overthinking of the ‘am I or aren’t I?’ variety. Having made the decision to grow our little family, I am so ready for it to happen, and in an attempt to cushion the blow of a potentially negative result, I’ve convinced myself that we couldn’t be so lucky twice, could we?

I don’t recall any very early pregnancy symptoms first time round, but then I think I was so naive about the whole thing I wouldn’t really have known what to look out for. It never even occurred to me that I would feel anything so soon. Now I’m almost constantly poking my boobs to see how tender they are (probably making them so in the process), wondering if I feel bloated for a good reason rather than because of the big dinner I had the day before, and if I’m fatigued from a surge of hormones or simply a disturbed night’s sleep.

Only time will tell, unfortunately, so the wait goes on. I can finally take a test at the weekend, and we’ll see how lucky we are.

Follow Mystery Mum’s journey on Twitter @BlogsForBabies  – look out for #MysteryMum

 

A difficult conception and pregnancy with twins – Jess Soothill

jess soothill 3Anyone undergoing fertility treatment will identify with Jess and her husband’s difficult journey to parenthood, with multiple cycles of IVF and IUI testing Jess’s emotional and physical resolve to the limit. Happily, they eventually conceived twins, a boy and a girl, who arrived after a less than straightforward pregnancy, which Jess shares with us here.

Jess lives in North Wales with her husband, and twins Harry & Charlotte who are nearly two. She used to work as a HR Manager but now stays at home to look after the twins. They live in the countryside and have a pet cat.

Jess blogs at mummyofboygirltwins.wordpress.com

Conception:

“You are so massive!” I was normally greeted with during my pregnancy with twins (or words to that effect). Normally ‘huge’ and ‘enormous’ were common words used to describe me. It didn’t really make me feel that good about myself to be honest, but after everything I had been through, I was just glad to be pregnant.

I spent most of my twenties quite drunk but also feeling very broody. Despite enjoying success in a Human Resources career I couldn’t wait to get married and have a big family. I thought about it a lot.

30 arrived and so did a wedding ring, mortgage and a cat. As soon as we were back from Honeymoon I couldn’t wait to start trying. It was an exciting and enjoyable time, thinking that Hubby and I were going to have a brand new little person in our lives soon.

Each month passed by. One by one our friends married and announced their pregnancy. Each time a niggle of jealously. “We need to try harder” I thought. This wasn’t going to plan (and when you’re a control freak and get everything you want this wasn’t a pleasant feeling). It was very testing; being totally reliant on Mother Nature was not easy.

The miscarriage was the lowest point. By the time the blue line had appeared I had planned the nursery, picked out the pram and chosen a name. Even though I was only 6 weeks along when it happened I felt like my world had ended. I felt lonely, isolated and angry. Hubby and I struggled; there was a lot of tension, mostly from me. I think I became quite depressed at that time.

And I was losing friends fast. Baby-showers and Christenings were now too painful to attend. The jealousy was becoming unbearable.

A few years passed and we were soon under full-blown medical care. We had all the usual standard tests – everything appeared to be working properly. We were classed as ‘unexplained infertility’.

Trying to have a baby for us now couldn’t have been any less romantic or starry-eyed. It was now a process, an undertaking, a clinical procedure.

For anyone that has experienced the procedures IUI (Intrauterine insemination) or IVF (In vitro fertilisation) the only way you can describe it is that it is invasive, intrusive and emotionally and physically draining. It’s all-consuming.

And it feels like even the odds are against you the whole time. According to babycentre.co.uk for IUI, you have a 16% success rate if you are under 35, and a success rating of 32% for IVF. These get even lower as you get older. But despite these odds you live in the highest hope that you will be one of those positive figures.

Hubby and I were finally declared a successful statistic after enduring x3 rounds of IUI and x3 cycles of IVF. The third round of IVF produced 2 embryos and both implanted.

At the 7-week scan at the IVF clinic the Nurse turned the screen towards us and declared “and there are your twins”. The two grey blobs were most definitely there.

Pregnancy:

jess soothill 1And then I got big. Quickly. My bump grew fast. I was in maternity wear by 10 weeks and struggling to walk by 20. I gave up work at 28. I could hardly function anymore and needed to nap a lot during the day. My body was working hard though! I spent the last few months watching a lot of daytime TV, surfing the internet and indulging in a great deal of on-line shopping. Our bank account took a huge dent!

Due to the fact that it was a multiple pregnancy, and therefore classed as ‘high risk’, I was placed under Consultant care and attended monthly scans, appointments and checkups. Hospitalised twice for bleeding, I also suffered with ligament pain, backache and low iron levels (to name but a few issues!).

And then at 36 weeks and 3 days my waters broke. I was already in hospital by now due to placenta previa and as a result had been booked in for a planned caesarean section at 38 weeks. “Are you sure you haven’t just wet yourself?” the nurse asked me when I pulled on the assistance cord in a panic, water all down my legs. ‘Er, no”.

jess soothill 2Harry & Charlotte, our new baby boy & girl, arrived 3 minutes apart. He was 6lb 7oz and she weighed 5lb 13oz.

Both just perfect.

They were, and are, remarkable and are true miracles in our lives.

OK well yes they drive me mad. And I NEVER sit down all day. And now that they are toddlers they fight a lot and I am constantly keeping the peace. And they make so much mess. And at the end of the day I’m physically worn-out and have been driven to wine.

But despite all this, when you have been through so much pain and anguish you’ll take all that, and most definitely some more thrown in too!

Follow Jess on Twitter @soot1978

 

 

 

 

What a difference a year and a half makes – Grace Hall

grace hall picGrace is a 23 year old, stay-at-home mum from Bedfordshire who loves to bake wacky cakes and make beautiful baby items for her children. She loves cloth nappies and is pushchair crazy. She also had a tough time of conceiving her baby daughter Emilia. Her story highlights the strains that trying to conceive can put on even the strongest of relationships.

Grace blogs at mumwithanopinion.com

One day 3 years ago we were sat there just casually watching television when my partner (42) said ‘why don’t we have another baby?’ Now I was shocked! He has 3 children the mothers don’t allow him to see, his eldest now 16 and my little boy now 4. He was always saying he was getting old and can’t keep running around, but sure, I wanted a little girl to complete my own little family.

So we set off trying; I’d previously been on the Depro injection but that hadn’t been a problem with conceiving my son. We used an ovulation calendar, so I knew when the best moments were for a greater chance of conceiving and got to it whenever necessary, but things weren’t happening. With my son it took 3 weeks and we were pregnant, but 6 months down the line we still didn’t have a baby. I’d been to my doctors, who told me the injection could take up to a year to clear my system and I feared another baby might not be for us.

With every friend that got pregnant my jealousy grew; our relationship wasn’t going very well either with the stress of trying too much and having specific times we could and couldn’t. A year had passed and I had done research, a lot of research! I had come across this drug called Clomid that doctors gave to patients trying to conceive but having difficulties; normally they only give around 3-4 doses before other methods are looked into and other possible difficulties.

So I went to my doctors and explained my frustration and how much it was affecting our relationship trying to conceive. She told me she’d contact the hospital who tend to deal with the drug process and that I’d have to go for blood tests and fertility screening. It had rather scared me that I had to go through this and I did start to wonder what had or hadn’t I done to prevent getting pregnant. Me and my partner spoke it through and we decided this would be our last attempt before finally giving up.

However the day before we were due to attend our Clomid appointment, my partner finally came clean and said he had worries about our relationship and the stress had got to him, and he no longer wanted to go through with it or the baby. My. Heart. Sank. I had wanted this for so long but maybe had pushed the limits too far and hadn’t realised my relationship had been affected because of it.

So for months in the back of my mind sat this feeling – every time I saw a new baby I thought that could have been us, we could have had our little bundle by now. I hadn’t spoken of the subject since my partner said he didn’t want another, but I started to think ‘he’s just turned 40, we need to have one now or never’.

I sat him down and explained I was sorry last time hadn’t gone well and the pressure had been too forceful, and at the end of the conversation, he simply got up and said OK. OK he was fine with it; he didn’t feel we needed another one but if it’s what I really wanted and felt strongly about he would be prepared to do so, but on the understanding we tried on our own, no pressure from doctors or ovulation charts.

So it was back to trying hard and secretly I still had my ovulation charts as I couldn’t seem to shake the want for a little girl. After another 4 months we still were struggling and by now had left it to pot until…

One night out for our friend’s fancy dress party – and 4 weeks later, I was sat there staring as the faintest blue line stared back at me from a stick; far, far too early in the morning, a couple of days before my partner’s birthday. I was in complete shock and almost felt to cry out in sheer joy. I bounded the stairs and came down with two sticks of pure joy as an early present, of which he said ‘what does that mean?’ LOL – men, they haven’t a clue.

20 weeks and 2 scans later revealed I had indeed, after nearly 2 years of trying, got myself that little pink one I had stressed and cried about for so long. She weighed 6lbs 2oz and came with a dramatic 9 minutes to spare before her cousin’s birthday, taking just under 12 hours to make her appearance.

I will say I feel I’m the luckiest mummy. Sheer desperation, lots of tears, a near break up and so much bedroom talk, but see it was worth it all. I felt like I’d never see the day but the trick is: Never. Give. Up.

Follow Grace on Twitter @tinkerbella3456

Our bumpy journey – Sarah Knott

Sarah Knott picSarah is our very first Blogs For Babies contributor! She is a 26 year old mum-to-be, currently 32 weeks pregnant with her first child. Sarah is originally from Scotland but grew up in the Middle East and Holland and now lives in London, where she works in the international division of a retail head office. She is married to a Royal Navy sailor and is obsessed with cats!

Sarah blogs at theknottbump.blogspot.co.uk

I decided to come off the contraceptive pill in September 2012, two months after we got married in August. If he’d had his way, the husband would have had us trying earlier – he was the broodiest man alive! I suffered from anorexia as a teenager, and into my early twenties, and had been made aware that my hormone levels might have been affected as a result. The fact I’d been on the pill on and off for ten years was in the back of my mind as I wasn’t sure how much of an effect that would have had too.

Even though I knew my hormone levels might be affected, nothing could prepare me for how messed up my cycles became. The first cycle was over 100 days and the symptoms of coming off the pill mirrored early pregnancy symptoms, which was bizarre – nausea, dizziness, sore boobs, etc. I had read that you should give your body a few cycles to get back into the swing of things before trying properly. My problem was I wasn’t really having cycles. They just went on and on with no signs of ovulation and it became the most frustrating thing trying to figure out what was going on.

I was reluctant to go to the doctors because of my age (25 at the time) as I felt that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I investigated a little online and decided to try some herbal remedies – mainly agnus cactus and evening primrose oil. These didn’t seem to do much for me and I tried tracking my basal body temperature instead. That was all over the place and didn’t tell me anything either. I also invested in a digital fertility monitor from Clearblue but there was no pattern in terms of fertility readings.

After a couple more months I relented and went to my GP. He did blood tests to see if that brought anything to light and when that came back looking ok, he eventually referred me for an internal scan of my womb/ovaries. That was an interesting experience! Everything came back looking normal though which was a relief.

The doctors advised the next step was for Rob to get tested before any further testing would be done on me. After talking it over we decided that we’d give it another couple of months which would have meant almost a year of trying before we considered any further testing. We were tired of constantly monitoring and worrying about everything and to be honest I was getting exhausted by the disappointment of negative tests.

We went on holiday to Ibiza the following month, had an amazing time, came back, tried to carry on with things not thinking about trying for a baby and within a month I had fallen pregnant! The only thing I’d been kind of looking at in terms of signs of ovulation was my cervical mucus. It had gotten to the egg white fertile stage earlier than it had done in previous cycles – around day 25 – which made me think my period would come earlier than it had been. It didn’t come and I waited ages to test because I didn’t believe I could be pregnant…but I was!

Despite being absolutely over the moon at being pregnant, early pregnancy didn’t treat me well as I suffered from bad morning sickness until I was around 20 weeks. Nothing I did calmed the symptoms; I tried every trick in the book! I also had a bleed and had to have a scan to make sure that everything was ok at around 9 weeks. Next, I was told at my 20 week scan that my placenta was low lying and that it would have to be monitored to see if it moved up in time for a natural birth or not.

We carried on as normal and I started to feel a little better at around 22 weeks. Unfortunately, at 28 weeks I had another bleed and had to call the labour ward as instructed by the midwives. They wanted us to come in and it led to me being admitted for 4 days for investigations. There is a separate, more in depth post on this on my blog if you’re interested.

But after all this here we are now; bump and I are doing really well and I’m settling into the third trimester well. I love all the kicking and constant reminders that baby is in there and continuing to grow and thrive. We now just have to focus on the big house move from London to Portsmouth when I go on maternity leave and of course…the even bigger event…the birth!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @KnottBumpAndUs