Saturday, 11 November 2017

27 Weeks Pregnant

Have you noticed a stranger commenting on your recent blog posts? Perhaps during the wee small hours of the morning.

Yes, I'm slowly getting back into visiting my friends blogs, usually early in the morning when Bo is having a kickboxing session and I can't sleep.

There's been rather a lot of not sleeping this week. I keep waking after midnight, going to the loo, then tossing and turning until around 4am. As well as having an irrational hatred of my right thigh, Bo's not keen on me resting my arm on my belly, which is unfortunate considering the size of it (my belly, not my arm). There's really nowhere else for it to go (either belly or arm).

If anything my bump is even bigger today than that photo taken yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, the day I hit 27 weeks pregnant also happens to be the 40th anniversary of Louise Brown's conception. For those not in the know, she was the first person to be born as a result of IVF treatment. It made me feel rather emotional to know that just over forty years ago, none of this was possible.

In fact, it's only 34 years since the first successful frozen embryo transfer and only 25 since the first conception using ICSI. That's massive developments in infertility treatment roughly within my lifespan; I can't help but wonder how things will change by the time Bo is my age!

This week has reminded me of just how loved Bo is already.

At work I was called into another room where a massive pile of baby clothes had been laid out for me. One of my colleagues (the one who addresses all his emails to me and the bump, like Bo is part of our team) had a clear out and we are now conveniently well stocked on clothes in 'tiny baby' sizing.

Honestly, it feels like he could fit into some of them already! I sorted through them this afternoon and came to feel what was either an unusually hard hernia or a baby foot pressing out just under my ribcage. Since it's mostly moved now, I'm guessing that's just my son stretching his legs!

And we've booked Bo's baptism as well.

It's something we've been discussing in recent weeks. Whether we would go for a baptism or a blessing service (slightly different wording and no godparents). Mr Click is involved musically in two sister churches which both have the same minister so there was the question of where it would be as well.

As he's more religiously inclined than I am, and y'know actually goes to church at least once a month, I left it to him to investigate and decide on what we'd do.

Well, this week it all came together. The minister is happy to do the full baptism, the couple we'd hoped to be Bo's godparents are thrilled to have been asked, people at work have said they'd like to come.

I may have got a little emotional about this yesterday which came to a head when I discovered we'd run out of orange juice and so had a little cry.

It's amazing to be making plans for this little person who isn't actually here yet. I mean he's very much here, I can feel him trying to move into my ribcage as I type, but he's still not quite a tangible person.

And yet by this time next week I will have entered my third trimester. I'm only going to get bigger and more uncomfortable as the weeks go on and yet each week, each day, brings me closer to meeting this little guy in person. And I'm so in love with him I just can't wait to get properly acquainted.

Friday, 3 November 2017

26 Weeks Pregnant

After our rocky start to pregnancy, with the sickness and the dehydration and the liver failure, I'm really enjoying this stage. Looking back to 14 weeks ago, I couldn't really imagine feeling so happy and comfortable as I do now.

Of course, comfortable is a relative term.

I'm getting pretty used to feeling uncomfortable somewhere between most of the day and all of the time, and I'm fully aware that as Bo and I grow, that's only going to get worse. But on the whole, not feeling like you're dying does wonders to improve your general mood and well-being.

I think feeling Bo move makes such a difference. I'm fairly certain that my mood directly correlates to how much he's been moving on a given day. If I feel several good wiggle sessions I can just relax and enjoy him; if he's quieter or has turned round so I don't feel him so well, then I can't help but worry.

As I'm writing this (at 6.30am!) he's been thumping and kicking and wiggling for the last hour and a half. I think we'll have a quiet day today after this, I'm pretty knackered and I've just been lying here feeling his workout so he must be ready for a good long nap!

I love feeling like in getting to know him. I realise this may all be projection, there's no real way of knowing what he'll be like til he arrives, but right now I have a sense of him being quite a lot like me in personality (spare a moment of sympathy for poor Mr Click at the thought of there being two of me in our house).

I've mentioned before that Bo doesn't like his space to be invaded. He even takes offense to me leaning an arm on my bump or letting the edge of a plate rest against it. I'll get a series of kicks to let me know something is in his way and he'd like it gone.

But he also seems to like reassurance that he's not alone. He'll often kick and if I don't give him a little pat or rub, I'll get another insistent little kick. Of course he kicks back when I poke him but if I don't respond to him it's like he's trying to get my attention and one he knows I'm listening (or rather, feeling, him) I get lighter taps or he moves on to thumping somewhere else.

I can kind of imagine him being in there going "Mum. Mum! MUM!" Until he gets his response. It's sweet. I can't help but wonder if this will continue when he's born. Perhaps he won't want us rubbing or touching him when he's in his crib, but he'll let out a little noise every once and a while to remind us he's there and check we're still paying attention to him.

I can't wait to find out.

I've also just this week discovered that the hand dryers at work make him jump. They sound like aeroplane engines but maybe a decibel or two louder. I thought I'd noticed movement from him when I was drying my hands but it wasn't until yesterday that I could be sure there was a pattern, sure enough, there is. The second the dryer goes on, I get a little jump in my belly and sometimes he follows it up with a thump (presumably the antenatal version of hitting the ceiling with a broom). I can't really blame him, the source of the noise is only a few inches away from my belly after all.

I also feel like I'm growing by the hour at the moment. At work today I got several comments from people about my rapidly expanding belly (it's 34" around my belly button and about 37" around at the widest point)! The vest top I wore to work today actually tucked in when I put it on, though it didn't stay that way if I raised my arms, but by the time I left it wouldn't come more than an inch below my belly button. I'm going to need to get some more in a larger size (these are my regular size 10 vest tops from Primark) or I'll just accept that vest tops make me look like Winnie the Pooh now!

It is a little alarming to think I've still got 14 weeks to go and so much more growing to do. But I'm enjoying watching the bump grow.

I don't think I've ever allowed so many photos to be taken of me!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Having a baby on a budget

I've made no secret of the fact that it's taken a lot of expense to make Baby Bo, physical and emotional expense mostly, but there's a lot of actual financial expense there too.

For starters there was a £4000 loan for our private first round of treatment (which was ultimately cancelled so we didn't actually use it all).

Then there were all the pennies spent on our 'free' NHS goes. Whenever IVF on the NHS gets mentioned in the news it seems to be assumed that you're just handed the treatment on a plate, but there are a huge number of costs associated with it; travel to the hospital for scans and blood tests three times a week, the days lost from work for those appointments, the hotel you may need to stop in to get to egg collection on time, the recovery time afterwards which again eats into your work hours.

Plus there's the other little expenses associated with trying to conceive; 7.5 years worth of folic acid (admittedly, I qualified for that on the NHS but when they started finding my baby I switched to buying my own multivitamin), ovulation tests, the masses of pregnancy tests.

It all adds up.

People have been very quick to tell me that having a baby is expensive. We've spent thousands on making Baby Bo; getting ready for his arrival, we've spent hundreds and we're practically ready to go.

Here's how we're doing it:

Buy second-hand
This seems so obvious to me but the number of people who have reacted with horror at the thought of us putting our previous infant into things that have been *gasp* used before!

Newsflash! Babies grow. Fast.

In the same breath as telling me they only ever bought brand new stuff for their baby, at massive expense, these people often tell me how many things they passed on that had never been worn or used because baby outgrew them.

With that in mind, Mr Click and I have been scouring our local Facebook resale pages and eBay for bargains with the caveat that the two things we absolutely must buy new are the cot mattress and car seat.

Sometimes this might mean buying things a little sooner than you planned. I agonized over whether or not to pick up the Moses basket above when it was listed on Facebook as I'd only just turned 13 weeks pregnant, wasn't that too early?

The desire for a good bargain won out and we got it for £20, when the complete set online retails for around £140. Obviously we bought a brand new mattress but the whole thing came to less than £30.

Other great deals have included:

  • A box of assorted 0-3 months clothing for £13 on eBay
  • A bouncy chair for £10 from a local Facebook group
  • A second bouncy chair (for Grandma and Grandad's house), baby gym, baby bath seat, and a selection of toys, blankets, muslins, and clothes of various sizes all for £60 from our next door neighbour
  • A cot complete with brand new, never used mattress, for £45 from our friends' parents
  • Another box of assorted baby clothes, blankets and bedding for £15 from eBay
We've got some filling up round the edges to do in the clothing department but getting second-hand means we have a good selection of clothes to be starting with. And what we buy new will be filling in the gaps, rather than having to start from scratch so it helps take some of the pressure off too.

Use what you already have
Buying baby stuff seems to be a lot like buying wedding stuff. You add one extra little keyword and suddenly there's another one (or two!) zeros on the end of the price!

I was horrified early in the pregnancy to discover that in one popular baby supply store you can buy a set of drawers for over £200 which you then have to pay an additional £60 to get a wooden tray to attach to the top to use as a changing table! Especially as 90% of the people I've spoken to have said 'don't waste your money on a changing table'.

Bo's room has been a spare room/general dumping ground since we moved in. We've put a bed in there, which we're keeping as it doesn't make sense to get rid of a perfectly good need he'll eventually need anyway. And two bookcases, one of which we always planned to keep in there for him, the other had a slightly more ambiguous fate.

Until recently.

It occurred to me that the bookcase would probably actually work quite well as a makeshift wardrobe. Sure enough, £21 later, we've bought some plastic tubs and baskets to use as 'drawers' and I've already started stashing baby clothes in them.

In the future we can buy a wardrobe when Bo's actually old enough to need one. And then I can have my bookcase back.

Accept hand-me-downs and gifts, but be specific
Several people have offered me freebies, just the other week at work a friend heard me talking about sheets for the Moses basket. A few days later she gave me a bag containing three from when her daughters were tiny.

Other people have offered to buy little presents or asked what we needed. It's weird to tell people what you want, but it's a good way to fill in the gaps in your inventory. To start off with I was noncommittal and replied with things like 'whatever, just clothes and things' which is clearly a frustrating answer to receive.

When a friend asked more recently I was perfectly happy to let her know I was looking for a baby sleeping bag. It gave her something specific to look for and I've got something to tick off my list of things to get.

Plus it saves me the trouble of having to clear through a bunch of things we'll never want nor need without hurting anyone's feelings. If you don't want your baby dressed in a certain style of clothing, tell people, they'll be grateful to get you something you'll actually like.

The biggest gift we've received is our pram, from my mum and step-dad (no pictures yet since it deserves a post of its own). We saved money here by doing our research, going for a less well-known brand and ordering it direct from the manufacturer. This meant that we got a lot more for our money than if we'd gone for the equivalent big name brand version.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have people who can spring for the big ticket stuff like this and we would have been happy going second-hand for the pram, then getting our car seat brand new ourselves. Bo's other grandparents have offered to take car of his next car seat for us which was also very generous and not something we were counting on. People want to get involved when you're having a baby so don't feel bad about saying yes if someone wants to treat you and the baby. Make sure you find out their budget and stick within it; spend their money wisely, you don't want to take liberties with their goodwill.

Speaking of which...

Set a budget
Mr Click and I never formally sat down with a spreadsheet to work out what we'd spend and where, but we had a rough idea of what we were willing to pay. We visited John Lewis and Mothercare early in the game to get an idea of prices for things, then compared then across the board in places like Tesco, Asda and online.

It's very easy to get swept up in the excitement of having a baby and get carried away buying things you could get cheaper or elsewhere.

Listen to advice (but feel free to disregard it)
You know how it is, you get pregnant and suddenly everyone's an expert on what you should and shouldn't be doing, but the people who have done it before are a handy resource.

I've asked countless people what their essential items were and what they've regretted buying. And been surprised by the answers a lot of the time. Changing tables are viewed by most as wholly unnecessary whereas you can never have too many blankets or muslins. Certain brands of nappies get ranked higher than others and plenty of people are quick to tell you which own brand products are better than the real thing.

Of course, for every person who insists they couldn't have done without the £200 vibrating baby chair for their colicky infant, there's someone else whose baby hated it. So ask around before making any big purchases and if you're at all unsure, don't rush into buying something just because someone else said you should.

Take advantage of offers and stock up in advance
Everyone seems to have a Baby Event every few months nowadays. Between us my mum, Mr Click and I have taken great advantage of the Aldi event, buying a little of everything so we've now got bottles, blankets, muslins (can't have too many, remember), towels and a baby monitor.

It felt a little strange to start buying nappies when I was just four months pregnant, but it helps to spread the cost. Better to spend the odd £5-10 on them now and get a good supply in, than find ourselves constantly running out and having to go to the expensive local shops when Bo arrives (though that well inevitably happen too).

I'm sure that there are plenty of other things I could add to this list. As it stands we've probably spent less than £300 kiting ourselves out for Baby Bo's arrival; including the travel system that's still less than £600 (we easily spent that much on hospital trips to the ACS clinic in Glasgow this year alone).

So while we might have spent a small fortune making the baby, we're fairly confident that we're saving enough money in our preparations for him getting here that we'll be able to focus on using the money we've saved to really enjoy him when he's born.

What are your tips for having a baby on a budget?

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween from Baby Bo

My son is now strong enough that his kicks can be seen through my clothing, but until today I've not been able to catch it on camera.

Baby Bo decided to show off his new skills as a little Halloween treat. Keep an eye on the baby skeleton's ribcage.

Admittedly, this was after I was a very bad mummy and hyped my tiny person up with Maoms and Haribo at my work's Halloween Day. But I did get a great response (and several odd looks from my colleagues as I recorded my belly).

So Happy Halloween from the Click family. Hope you're all having a good day.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

25 Weeks Pregnant

Better late than never, right?

I turned 25 weeks pregnant on Friday and I'm feeling most definitely pregnant now.

I look it too!

I don't normally compare one week to the next but I've got decidedly bumpier this week.

There was one day last week, I think it was Wednesday or Thursday when I ended up feeling really uncomfortable. My bump ached and felt crampy and weird. Just when it was reaching a point where I thought I should call the midwife it subsided and went back to normal.

And the next day I was even bigger!

I suspect that the discomfort was caused by Baby Bo readjusting his position. The next morning my bump was lopsided and I was getting kicks in places I'd not felt them before.

Since then I've felt little ripples as he's moved himself around again. Before he was mostly on the left, then last week it was the right and now he's all over. I'm not even sure which bits of him I'm feeling at the moment because I'm not sure which way up he is, let alone what's feet, what's hands, what's bum, and what's head!

I've also finally progressed onto wearing my over the bump work trousers up over the bump. Until recently I'd been folding down the extra fabric because it was too loose. Not any more!

Of course, now we'll be dressing down for November and December so I won't actually need those trousers again until January! But I've got some proper use out of them at least.

I was planning on weaning myself off the ondansetron this weekend, but I made the mistake of forgetting to take my evening dose on Tuesday. And thew up seconds after getting off the phone with my mum. Turns out that skipping the evening dose probably isn't a good idea after all.

I'll maybe give the weaning another go in a month or so but I'm pretty much resigning myself to the fact that I have hyperemesis and I need antiemetics to keep me from throwing up.

As much as I'd love to be totally drug free now for Bo's sake, a mummy who can't eat properly and throws up much of what she eats isn't going to be good for the little guy either.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Getting to know you

Check this out, blogging twice in one week! This could become a habit.

I'm actually writing this yesterday morning, lying awake with my standard case of pregnancy insomnia and enjoying feeling my little guy wiggle and kick. It's got me thinking that I know him pretty well in some ways and not at all in others.

It's kind of weird to think that in less than four months this little near stranger will be moving into our house, so it's reassuring to remind myself that I do kind of know something about him.

Right from the beginning, well 12 weeks, Bo has hated having his space invaded. One of my lasting memories of that scan, our third glimpse of him (not counting seeing his bundle of cells pre-transfer), was the way he turned his back on us. It was done very pointedly, as though he was saying 'okay, you've had your look, now leave me alone'. He rolled over in exactly the same shifting motion as his dad does in bed when I'm talking too much and he wants to sleep.

This hatred of having his personal space invaded has continued as he's grown. We've seen him pushing the scanner probe away from him in black and white on the screen, raising his little hands above his head and giving it a firm shove. He has a special dislike of the doppler and on at least two out of three occasions when he's met it he's managed to land a perfect hit on it as he attempts to kick it away. If you want to incite him to kick, prod my belly, it's rare that this doesn't get you a 'knock it off' kick or punch from within.

He's also not a fan of one of my hitherto most comfy positions. I like to sit or lie with my right leg bent up towards my tummy. Clearly this cramps his space because he's now able to tell me this might be comfy for me, but it isn't for him, and kicks my thigh til I move it. Sometimes I'm a nice mummy and give in to his comfort over mine; sometimes I'd rather sit with my leg where it feels good though, sorry kiddo.

He likes cheese and onion crisps. This is a recent discovery. For the last couple of weeks I've started getting a mid-morning cheese and onion crisp craving. When I inevitably give in to it, Baby Bo gives me this happy little wiggle. It's become a regular part of my work day, sharing a packet of crisps and enjoying one another's company.

Haribo Tangfastics have a similar effect, though I question my wisdom at hyping my son up on sugar this early in his young life. I tired him out the other day when we got a massive bag of Haribo at work and I steadily munched my way through every mini pack of Tangfastics I could lay my hands on. He was so active I could see my belly thumping through my top, but the next day he was pretty quiet. I guess the sugar let down is even heavier when you're only the size of an ear of corn.

Baby Bo seems to enjoy baths. We usually have one on a Saturday afternoon to unwind and when I get in he thumps around then mostly chills, unless I top up the hot water.

Conversely, he did not seem to enjoy ex-Ophelia who paid us a visit last week. I'm sure barometric pressure must have had an effect on him. He was pretty quiet for the two days of strong winds we had, but made up for it after. It was like he knew we needed to hunker down.

He doesn't much like going to work with me. Sorry little guy, since we're a package deal right now, you've still got another three months of that to look forward to.

He has virtually stopped having me throw up for roughly an hour of each day we are there, for which I'm grateful for. He does still impose some pretty strict rules though.

I've already mentioned the cheese and onion crisps which I bribe him with to get through the day. My son, like his father, is very food-oriented. Lunch MUST be Philadelphia and Ryvitas. Attempts to switch the menu to something mummy might enjoy more have been met with violent disgust (and vomiting, from me, not him). Since I'd rather spend my afternoon at my desk than crouched over a loo in a toilet cubicle, I meekly comply with my son's demands and add variety with the occasional second bag of crisps for the day.

He's also not a fan of me writing at my desk at work. I've recently taken on a new role at work which means I have a big notebook on my desk which I frequently spend time writing notes in. Like his aversion to my right leg, he doesn't care for my hunched over notebook writing position. Of course, he has no shame in letting me know this, but as writing angles are somewhat limited, he's mostly going to have to learn to accept this one.

From what we've seen of him in his recent scans, he's fascinated by his face. I can't blame him there. It's an adorable little face and I can't wait to study it too.

And in the absence of a mirror in there, he's having to resort to other methods to explore his good looks. When you've covered that ground with your hands, it's time to branch out and see what you can learn using your feet!

I'm fairly certain he's got my nose, which is exciting. No one else in the family has my quirky turned up nose. I'm looking forward to seeing if this is something we'll share, but based on what we've seen of that little face so far, there's definitely a family resemblance.

He's also a bit of a night owl. He does seem to enjoy a good dance party around 1 or 2am. I'm sure this is partly to blame for my early morning blog post writing. He's been wiggling and kicking pretty much the entire time it's taken to write this post. I foresee many more sleepless nights in our future once he arrives!

I'm also pretty certain that Baby Bo will not become an Alexander in four months time. This was a bit of a surprise to me when I realised it about a month ago, but as I get to know him better, he just doesn't feel like the Xander I've been imagining all these years. He's someone else entirely and that's pretty cool. Especially since the name he feels like seems more and more right for him as the weeks progress.

We still have an awful lot to learn about him. Will he settle best for mummy or daddy? Will he enjoy car rides or see them as a special kind of torture? Will he be an easy going little guy or a demanding baby?

Who knows?

But I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on this little fellow I'm sharing my body with right now. And I'm sure I'll learn so much more about him in the coming months before B-Day (that's Birth-Day, obviously).

Saturday, 21 October 2017

24 Weeks Pregnant

I'm sorry, I've been neglecting the blog the last few weeks. Pregnancy has been eventful as always and that's my main reason for not updating. So here's a quick rundown of what we've been up to, more or less in the order it happened.

There is no denying the bump now. I feel like I get bigger by the day. Honestly, I kind of love it. We only have one teeny tiny shaving mirror in our house so when we stopped at my in-laws' house last week (due to Ophelia potentially cutting us off at home) I may have spent longer than necessary admiring my belly in the mirror there. It's just lovely.

In my 22nd week I had a midwife appointment to check up on me, Bo and pick up my MATB1 form. While there I mentioned the weird rash that had developed on my right cheek (you can see a hint of it in my 21 week photo up there).

Suddenly the midwife was pulling out an info sheet on Slap Cheek (also known as Fifth Disease or Parvovirus B19) and getting me an appointment with the doctor for that afternoon. Bloods were taken and I was checked to see if I had an active infection. I didn't and when they discovered this the lab helpfully cancelled the test to see if I had an immunity to Parvo (which would mean I'd had it in the past and was immune now). So we're none the wiser as to what it was but at last it's gone now.

Of course the highlight of the appointment was listening in to Bo's heartbeat again. One of Baby Bo's last favourite things in the world. The midwife said he sounded like a boy.

We also had a Superhero Day at work that week. I dressed up at Super Mum-to-be, complete with cape, mask, L-plate, and accessory belt containing a bottle, nappy, teething ring and Superbaby onesie.

Note the strategic placement of my L-plate. The skeletal baby on my top is making a rather obscene, work-inappropriate hand gesture.

And then we hit the weekend which was pretty eventful.

I spent the weekend wondering if I was getting a UTI, despite there being no sign of a problem at my midwife appointment. The needed to pee almost all the time, felt generally uncomfortable down there and pretty much bleh. But it wasn't constant.

I felt well enough on the Saturday to escape the island for a while to get measured at M&S for some maternity bras (ZOMG! The comfiest bras I've ever owned). But by Sunday I was feeling more rotten again.

Mr Click gamely produced two cartons of cranberry juice and I chugged my way through them as the day went on, trying to see if it was making a difference.

That afternoon I got back ache. Just mild at first, which I put down to sitting in my in-laws' uncomfortable sofa. The evening wore on and it got worse and worse, all centralised on my lower right hand back and no amount of shifting position would help it was.

At 10.30pm I admitted defeat, accepted paracetamol had made no difference whatsoever, and called the midwife, who told me to head in to hospital. This was all very similar to my kidney issue of a couple of years ago, something she agreed with after finding blood and protein in my urine sample.

I was allowed home with antibiotics and painkillers, and an appointment at Day Care at the mainland hospital for that day (by this time it was after midnight). But not before a thorough examination.

One again, Bo was most miffed at having his space invaded. The midwife prodded my belly all over to check I wasn't having connections; Bo responded to that by kicking out at her. Then she grabbed Bo's old friend, the doppler. His little heart was pounding away at around the 155bpm mark, but he didn't appreciate being spied on and squirmed away. When the midwife chased him across my belly, he let her know his displeasure by aiming a direct kick onto the doppler probe. Even the midwife felt it.

To cut a long story short, this week, I did manage to pass a large kidney stone. Followed by what I suspect was a smaller one a couple of days ago. Hopefully that's the last of it now.

And as of yesterday, I'm 24 weeks pregnant.

It feels incredible to have reached this point. Aside from the tiredness and nausea still, I'm feeling pretty good. I definitely have more energy than before but I have to use it sparingly, if I do too much I need more time to recover afterwards. But I don't feel the need to spend all my time in a darkened room napping anymore.

And Bo is getting stronger now. He's able to kick hard enough to actually see the movement on the outside. I've spent way too much time this week watching my belly to see where the next one will hit. It looks pretty freaky but so cool at the same time.

I may have eaten a few too many Haribo Tangfastics this week in an attempt to encourage the little guy to kick. I'm practicing already for my Bad Mother Award, hyping my son up on sugar to get him to perform.

But it just feels lovely to have him wiggling away in there. Apart from when he scores a direct hit right before the belly button; that's a very odd sensation!