Saturday, 30 December 2017

34 Weeks Pregnant

Hope everyone's suitably recovered from Christmas. :-)

Yesterday I hit 34 weeks pregnant which feels like one of the final milestones before the big day.

These milestones have really helped keep me going through the pregnancy, particularly in the beginning when things were so rough. First there was the viability scan at roughly 8 weeks, then the 12 week scan (after twelve weeks the chance of miscarriage drastically reduces) when we officially announced what most people already knew, then 14 weeks when I was officially into the second trimester, 16 weeks (actually 17 weeks in my case) when we heard the heartbeat on the doppler, then 20 weeks for the next scan (and prospect of finding out just who might be in there), 24 weeks for viability (after which if the worst happened then they would attempt to treat the baby), 28 weeks for the third trimester starting, and now this week, where Baby Bo could come any time and although he'd be classed as preterm, he's mostly done baking and the risk of problems dramatically reduces again.

These milestone weeks have been like little stepping stones for me through the last almost eight months. I guess the next one will be in three weeks time when I hit 37 weeks at which point Baby Bo can basically come at will. Except we're kind of hoping he doesn't since I'm due to be induced and him waiting until my induction date will reduce the odds of needing to take a helicopter to the hospital! I'm well aware of the fact it cost the NHS somewhere in the region of £5000 to get him in there, I'd feel kind of guilty about costing them another £5000 to get us to the hospital to get him out!

Our Christmas was lovely; quiet and simple, just what I needed this year. I got far too used to having afternoon naps the last few days which I was slightly worried about for going back to work post-Christmas. It was all okay though. I'm still feeling really tired come mid-afternoon/evening time and the insomnia has ramped up another notch so I'm lying awake for several hours most nights which is obviously contributing.

I seem to have got a handle on those low blood sugar dips though (probably helped by the copious amounts of Christmas treats floating around at work). Since my midwife appointment two weeks ago, Mr Click is being most fastidious about making sure I'm eating regularly and I'm doing my best to just graze continually through the day. This may be a difficult habit to break once Baby Bo arrives.

Speaking of Baby Bo, as you can see above, he's growing at an alarming rate. I'm beginning to wonder if he might turn out to be some sort of giant baby. He seems to be everywhere at once in there!

As far as I can tell, he's still head down, his back is positioned up the right hand side of my bump, with his bony little butt just under my ribcage on that side (apart from when he stretches when it'll vary from sticking out my right side, up into the ribs, ouch, or directly up the top of my bump). His feet are off to my left and can be anywhere from the middle of my left hand side to right into my ribcage. Sometimes when a little foot sticks out I tickle it by tapping my fingers on it and it shoots back in again. Sometimes it'll pop back out a moment later like he's playing a game with me.

He also responds to me when I sing along to music. Poor kid. I think he's telling me to shut up. I sincerely hope he inherits his dad's musical talents! He does seem to enjoy music though, especially stuff with a good beat.

Still hates the hand drier at work though and the fire alarm. I'm clearly an evil mummy already because I think it's adorable when I feel him startle in there. I'll enjoy it now because it'll be less enjoyable when these noises set him crying in a few weeks time!

Aside from Christmas, one of my favourite moments this week was when Mr Click woke up for the loo roughly an hour before the alarm went off. Of course then I was bursting as well, so once we were settled back in bed, we snuggled up and chatted for a while. His arm was resting across my belly and for the next hour Bo played a game that could probably be called 'kick daddy out my way'. He was having a proper little party in there. And as I've said before, he hates people invading his space!

It was just a lovely moment between the three of us and I'm looking forward to many more early morning cuddles with my boys in the weeks and months to come.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas from the Click Clan!

Hope you and yours have had a great day if you're celebrating today.

It's been fabulous here, but now I'm ready for bed (and I had a nap this afternoon)!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

33 Weeks Pregnant

Thank you for all the lovely messages about Dodger. It's been a difficult week but I know letting him go was the right thing to do. It's just taking a while to get used to having three big squishes and no little squidge in the house.

It's also been a really busy week on the pregnancy front as well! I actually joked at work this week that I was getting them used to the idea of me being on maternity leave by hardly being there this week since between appointments for Dodger and then Bo and I, it feels like I've barely been there!

Monday was my midwife appointment 2.0 and it turned out to be with my favourite midwife, L. Sadly (for me) she's off on maternity leave herself soon. That was an interesting conversation since Mr Click and I hadn't even realised she was pregnant. She's due about ten days before me!

In short, all is good with both me and Bo.

In long, there was a slight concern about my blood pressure, until she realised that my last reading (taken during my Glucose Tolerance Test) was actually low for me and compared to my regular results my blood pressure was actually spot on.

We got to listen in to Baby Bo's heartbeat. I'll never get tired of hearing that sound. He's obviously getting more cramped in there because it was the first time he's not kicked at the doppler at this point. He's head down with his bum up on the right hand side (his back is on my right too) and his feet off to the left; I usually feel little heels sticking out at the top left of my bump or to the left hand side.

He measured slightly below average on the tape measure, my bump came in at 30 weeks (instead of 32+3), but the midwife wasn't concerned as I'd got a growth scan already scheduled that week and she said it could just be the way the baby was lying.

Then we had a nice long look through the notes I made last week on my birth plan. L was pretty impressed and we discussed certain bits in more detail before she encouraged me to write them up in my actual maternity notes. We had a little chat about the stuff we had organised for the hospital bag as well, they just need packing but since the bag we need is in use over Christmas that'll get done next week.

Wednesday then saw my scan and consultant appointment.

This was a routine growth scan as the IVF placed me into the high risk category (along with the hyperemesis and a couple of other things). In some cases IVF/ICSI babies have been noted to measure small so it was good to have a sneak peek into how Bo was getting on.

Sadly no photos from this one but to be honest, there wasn't a great deal to see anyway.

Baby Bo was still chilling in his head down position (here's hoping he's comfy and stays like that until it's time for his escape). This actually made it tricky to get the measurements they were looking for at a couple of points.

My son's pertinent measurements are a head circumference of 312.2mm, an abdominal circumference of 282.9mm, a femur length of 63.8mm and an estimated weight of 2084g (which is about 4.6lbs). That puts him actually just above the average line on the growth curve, with legs which are just under the 90th percentile for his age. I knew he had long legs!

If he keeps going like this I think we'll be looking at a 6.5 to 7.5 pounder which suits me fine, but we've got another growth scan scheduled for January just to check up on everything.

My least favourite part of the scan was when they needed to check the position of the placenta. At my 20 week scan it was showing as being 'low lying' so while it wasn't completely blocking the exit route (placenta previa), there was a chance it would get in the way and cause problems with a natural delivery. In that case we'd be straight to c-section, do not pass Go, do not collect £200. Obviously, as D-Day gets closer, this was something that needed to be looked into.

Unfortunately Baby Bo was using it as a pillow and wasn't in any hurry to move. So he was just as stubborn as at my 20 week scan. After pressing the ultrasound scanner into my groin several times trying to use it to move the baby's head (which hurt and which Bo wasn't too pleased about judging by his squirming), she tipped the bed right back so my feet were in the air and eventually, after more poking and prodding, managed to get the placenta checked out.

It's moved up so it's no longer classed as low lying, so yay! It's off to my right hand side and wraps around the back, and is evidently pretty comfy now Baby Bo is head down.

The consultant appointment afterwards was fairly brief. I'd been hoping we'd get our actual date for induction but she was in a bit of a hurry and said we'd discuss the full birth plan at my next appointment in four weeks time. She did confirm that at some point between the 2nd and 9th of February I'd be getting induced, but we've not narrowed it down to a single date yet.

The wait until my next two appointments (on the 12th and 17th of January) seems like ages away, though I'm sure on the other side of Christmas they'll look a lot nearer.

This week we've also stocked up on nappies, got me measured for new maternity bras (still smaller than my pre-pregnancy ones, in fact I'm just a couple of pounds heavier now than I was when I got pregnant), and made plans for ordering our Ergobaby carrier in the next couple of weeks.

Oh and we went to my work's Christmas night out, where I dressed up with zero stress because I have exactly one dressy maternity top so there was no question about what I would wear. And I was home by 9.45pm (at one point I turned to Mr Click to tell him I was feeling tired, expecting him to say it was after 10; it was five to nine)!

So yeah, pregnancy is still kicking my butt in the tiredness department, but I do think I'm rocking the bump:

I feel like I'm even catching myself developing a bit of a pregnant waddle at times. Bo likes to stretch up into my ribcage, which is really uncomfortable and often the positions which relieve that give me backache so I'm switching between whichever seems the least uncomfortable at the time.

He's loving Christmas music, though I'm slightly disappointed in him that he seems to be a fan of Cliff Richard (seriously son, you can be into anything you like; sports, dancing, competitive ironing, whatever, but please not Cliff Richard)! He's definitely a musical baby; I Am Moana gets him kicking, as does me singing You Make It Feel Like Christmas (though the latter might just be an attempt to shut me up).

I'm really looking forward to seeing if his musical tastes are different when he's on the outside! We may have to go back to playing Christmas music in February to keep the baby happy.

On which note, Happy Christmas Everyone! Hope you have a lovely holiday.

P.S. Mark, I got your comment, just wanted to say thank you and let you know you're awesome. :)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Sleep Tight Little Dodger

Yesterday we had to make one of the hardest decisions it's possible to make as pet owners; we said goodbye to our incredible little Dodger rat.

As I posted last week, he'd not really been himself for a couple of days. A little quiet, a little more sleepy, his breathing was a little more noisy than usual. He's always been a frail little guy so we kept an eye on it.

And sure enough, he started with the head tilt and the wobbling. So on Wednesday it was to the vet for antibiotics.

He responded well at first. Had a second dose on Friday and seemed to be more like himself (at the Friday vet appointment he let the vet examine him, then took himself back into the carrier before she could give him the injection, it was like he was saying 'okay, you've seen me, let's go now'). But that night he seemed to take a turn for the worse and went back to wobbling more than ever.

By Sunday night he was looking very sorry for himself and we began to question whether he would make it to Monday's appointment. And on Monday morning? He was trying to pull himself up on the bars of the cage.

It was at this appointment he got another dose of antibiotics but the vet mentioned that we might be looking at a pituitary tumour. I looked this up after the appointment and all his symptoms fell into place for me.

The head tilt, the slightly bulging right eye (due to intracranial pressure), the difficulty he was showing grasping with his front paws, the head bumping when you touched his head, the teeth grinding (like a happy rat bruxing but somehow different).

We'd scheduled the next vet appointment for Tuesday to see how he was getting on but that night Mr Click and I discussed it and decided that we would see what the vet said, but the time had probably come to say goodbye and let Dodger slip away with some dignity.

That night I begged Dodger to just go to sleep. I know he hated trips to the vet and having injections and I would have so rather he'd just slipped away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by the warm comforting bodies of his brothers.

But Dodger was stubborn and kept fighting right to the end. My sweet little soul.

By Tuesday morning it was clear we were making the right decision. He was making himself sore with this obsessive face rubbing and he either drew blood with it, or had bitten the inside of his mouth or tongue and made it bleed. He was mostly comfortable, lying down and resting, but he'd have these moments of energy where he'd walk round in circles, roll over and obsessively rub his face and mouth. It was kinder to say goodbye.

It's been a long time since I've had a pet put to sleep and while it's never going to be a pleasant experience, I can't fault the vet for the way they treated us.

As soon as we were called in I said I thought it was the pituitary tumour and that it was time to let Dodger go. The vet took one look at Dinky Dodge lying there, agreed with me, and walked us through what would happen next. Then he realised he'd been facing the computer as he was talking and turned round to apologise to Mr Click (who relies heavily on lipreading) for not facing him while he spoke. It's such a minor thing but it made me feel like we were really cared for.

First there was a very strong sedative injection, which Dodger was not too happy about, but which took effect quickly. As he wasn't comfortable being held before this, we'd left him in the carrier, but once it took effect we were able to lift him out onto his towel. And for the first time in days he looked relaxed. He even did that thing that sleepy rats do where they stretch out their back legs and the stretch goes right to the end of their tail. It was at that moment that I truly knew we were doing right by the little guy.

After a few minutes the vet topped up the sedative to make sure Dodger was properly out of it. There was no rush; there was a waiting room of people to be seen but we took our time and let Dodger take his. Tissues were handed round. We cried.

And then the final injection was administered. We told Dodger we loved him, kept stroking him, and the vet checked his heartbeat a couple of times until he had definitely gone.

I'm so sad that there wasn't anything else we could do to save him, but I'm pleased we were able to give him the most peaceful and dignified end possible under the circumstances.

Dodger might only have been a little over a year old but he crammed so much life into the twelve months we had with him. I suspect that if we'd not have adopted him he may well have succumbed to the ear infection he got at eight weeks; at the time we didn't expect him to last the weekend, instead we got roughly 50 weekends with him.

I miss him so much already.

The way he was always so desperate to come out, to the point where he'd climb onto the door so when you opened it he'd automatically be out, whether you wanted him to be or not.

The way he'd still popcorn at the age of a year, even though he should have grown out of it months ago. The others all treated him like a baby rat so he was allowed to try flipping them and they just let him get on with it.

The way he could polish off a handful of Cheerios within minutes of them being placed in the cage. Considering how tiny he was, it was amazing how he could put food away.

The way he would climb up onto my foot and stretch up my leg to ask to be held when we were letting them free range in the bathroom. This would invariably be followed by me lifting him up and using him as a microphone while singing and dancing to whatever we were listening to.

He was cheeky, full of character and has left a tiny rat shaped hole in our hearts.

Sleep tight little guy.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

32 Weeks Pregnant

It's been another busy week in the Click household.

Our Dinky Dodger rat hasn't been feeling too good.

At the start of the week he just wasn't himself. I suspected the start of respiratory failure and we made the decision to keep him comfortable and let him slip away peacefully if it came to it.

Well, Tuesday night he developed a distinct wobble and head tilt so we knew we were dealing with another ear infection. We had a big event planned at work on Wednesday so I'm sure I made everyone's day when I called in to say I was going to be late for a rat related emergency. Especially as I had the money we needed for part of the event safely locked away and I was the only one with access to it!

We took both Pocket and Dodger to the vet as it's cold in Scotland right now and the best ratty hot water bottle is another rat. Pocket is so bumbly and easy going that he makes for a great cuddle and travel companion.

Dodger got an antibiotic injection with a follow up scheduled for Friday afternoon, when I conveniently had past of the day booked off.

Friday was supposed to be another midwife appointment at home which seemed like a nice way to mark reaching 32 weeks. I was looking forward to hearing Baby Bo's heartbeat again and finding out which way up he's currently settled in. On Thursday he felt almost breech, now who knows? It feels like there's an octopus in there!

We got the living room organised and tidy for putting up the Christmas tree so getting things ready for the midwife wasn't that big a deal but we got up early so we could get the vacuum round and wipe down the shelves in the boys cage. I also had a cup of tea to prepare for the inevitable urine sample I'd be asked to produce.  Producing pee isn't really an issue for me, it's just producing it in the quantity needed for the midwife to test and send away! I spend about half my time taking trips to the loo for the tiniest dribble, only to make a return visit some ten minutes later for another one. I'm blaming Baby Bo for this!

Thirty minutes before we were expecting the midwife my phone rang, to let me know the ferries were disrupted, she was tuning late and had an urgent visit to do mine. Could we reschedule for the afternoon?

Mr Click and I had things to do down town so we agreed, I did some hasty wrapping and we headed off to post gifts, grab some lunch and do half a dozen small jobs before rushing home for the appointment.

Thirty minutes before we were expecting the midwife my phone rang, to let me know she was still tied up and wouldn't get to us as scheduled. Could she come a little later?

We explained that we had a poorly Dodger to take to the vet at 4pm. She said she'd try and get to us before 3pm which I wasn't overly keen on because I wanted to discuss birth plan stuff and didn't want to feel rushed.

Luckily she didn't get to us in time so we took Dodger to the vet. Side note: he's been fluctuating, sometimes seeming like he's doing better, sometimes seeming a lot worse. I don't know if he's really feeling the effects of these antibiotic injections but we've reached a point now where we're not sure he's going to make it through the weekend. I'd love to be proved wrong but I've got a sad feeling be won't be sharing Christmas with us.

Back home I called the midwife to let her know we were in. She was the only one on that day and was still tied up with visits out to people so wasn't in the hospital. She promised to call when she was and I was optimistic that we'd get a visit that evening.

5.30pm my phone rang to officially cancel my appointment. Initially she wanted to reschedule for the following day but that was Mr Click's birthday and we had plans which I just didn't want to have to reschedule after an already disrupted day.

Turned out that this appointment never actually needed to be a home visit since I've already had one of those. And for a brief moment I did almost get another blood test scheduled until we realised it was the one I already had redone on the 23rd of November! I do like our midwives but sometimes the system seems a little disorganised.

I felt really bad for my midwife though, she was so apologetic. I'm sad I won't get to see her on Monday. There are a couple I like more than the others and she's one of them. Knowing my luck on Monday I'll be seeing the one who is permanently obsessed with how dry my lips are; my lips are ALWAYS dry! I live in Scotland where it is cold, I work in an office with crazy dry heating, and I can't help but pick at them which does nothing to improve the situation. In the grand scheme of pregnancy issues I've experienced, it's really a non-issue.

I did take a photo of the Bump though. I keep getting told I'm small and neat, which I kind of love because I think my bump is adorable, but I also feel huge when I see pictures like this:

I'll let you know how my appointments go next week. I've also got my scan coming up and a meeting with the consultant who'll hopefully tell me more about being induced!

In the meantime, keep thinking good thoughts for our Dinky Dodge.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

31 Weeks Pregnant

I mentioned last week how busy I was. Well, my weekend only got busier!

Last weekend was probably the busiest I've been in one go since the start of this pregnancy. I guess I kind of warmed up to it with the visit from my mum, but a lot of that busy was midwife appointments and we did have a bit of downtime in between. No so much last week!

After meeting up with my cousin and her kids in Glasgow on the Friday, it was time to do some local shopping on the Saturday. My work has a raffle for staff members in the run up to Christmas and I've been one of the people organising it.

And I needed a haircut.

So I killed two birds with one stone, so to speak, and wandered around town picking up the vouchers I'd ordered. We also dumped a car load of stuff in to charity and had lunch out. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Mr Click and I are talking about making a weekly lunch date when Bo is born, perhaps sampling different cafes each week. It'd be a nice excuse to get out the house and a good way to show the baby off too.

The evening was spent decorating our Christmas tree and being generally festive.

I have to admit, I got a little emotional decorating the tree this year. I pulled out a bauble with Tara's teeth marks in it, from the first year we had her when she liked to help herself to shinies from the tree. And that set me off, just imagining next Christmas, decorating the tree with our ten-month-old chewing on the decorations instead. I could just imagine him sitting on the floor, nomming on a bauble and finding the whole thing highly amusing. In my head he's got these big blue eyes, his dad's slightly sticky out ears, sandy blonde hair (but not a whole lot of it) and a big, dribbly smile. It'll be interesting to see if he looks the way I imagine him to.

I'm looking forward to this Christmas, but I'm looking forward to next Christmas more!

We have got Bo's tree ornament for this year as well:

And then there was Sunday, which started like a normal Sunday but then we headed home early for the Mount Stuart Christmas Fair. The Community Band were playing at it so we took an opportunity for a wander round.

I'd have liked to have seen more of the fair but it was pretty busy, I was tired and wanted a sit down, and every few steps we bumped into someone who I hadn't seen for months who had to tell me how well I'm looking. It's true, I am looking a lot better than I was, but the feeling tired and wanting a sit down didn't really put me in the mood for having variations on the same conversation a dozen times.

The band played in the (freezing) marble chapel and it sounded great. Baby Bo went wild for some of the songs, which was kind of distracting. I spent as much time watching my belly as I did watching the band! All I Want For Christmas is a particular favourite of his. In fact, I made an effort to video the performance and watching the video back it occasionally jumps, those were the moments my son laid a particularly good kick on my arm!

As of yesterday, I'm feeling pretty big and I know I'm only going to get bigger from here on in.

I also took a photo of myself in just my underwear when I borrowed the shower at my in-laws' house this week. Pregnancy has made me feel surprisingly body positive and I'm toying with the idea of writing a blog post about my feelings there. I have a lot of feelings about my body right now and it's just a question of forming them into actual words.

Yesterday also saw us take a Snow Afternoon when we woke up to a fair covering of snow, made it down the hill from our house and realised getting home could be problematic. Mr Click made the executive decision to come get me from work at 3pm so we'd be attempting it in the daylight rather than the dark. After our second attempt to go home (I left my phone playing Christmas music to my colleagues, baby brain, and we had to go back for it about five minutes after leaving) we made it to the house and had a much needed relaxing afternoon.

I've washed a bunch of sleepsuits and three more blankets so now my thoughts are turning to the hospital bags. I really need to get those sorted in the next couple of weeks. I'm kind of holding off until my consultant appointment when we should find out when to expect the little guy, but perhaps Bo won't get that message and I don't want to be panicking about packing a bag whilst panicking about preterm labour.

Plus this week I've had a stinking cold. Bo's been fine, apart from winding me up with a quiet day when I spent much of my time second guessing whether I should call the midwife, only to have him spring to life each time I thought maybe I should. He's been rocking and rolling ever since (and is having a good squirm as I write) so it's nice to know I'm the only one who's been suffering.

This weekend is going to be spent resting, wrapping presents and, of course, getting more laundry done. I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

30 Weeks Pregnant

Friday was a busy day for me (actually the start of a busy weekend, in fact). My cousin flew into Glasgow with her kids, the youngest of whom is 15 months old and I'd never met before, so we arranged to meet up with them to have a catch up and some retail therapy.

I'm still (still!) suffering from insomnia. On a good week I'll sleep through the night maybe once or twice. The rest of the time I'll be awake anywhere between 12/1am and 4/5am. And it'll be wide awake time, usually with a couple of little dips where you feel like you might nod off, but somehow never quite get there.

Thursday night/Friday morning was one of those ones. The alarm was set for 6am and I was awake from 3am! Somewhere around 5am I realised sleeping just wasn't going to happen and gave it up completely.

Luckily I did have a snooze on the train on the way into Glasgow. My loving husband helpfully took a photo of us both to share on Facebook!

It was much needed though and gave me the energy I needed to get through the day.

I was hyper aware of the fact that I'm still getting blood pressure/blood sugar drops. I've had a couple of moments in the last week where I suddenly feel incredibly tired, then my arms and legs get heavy, I get a sort of tunnel vision sensation (not sparkles like high blood pressure but just a general sense of not being able to focus properly), nausea and a feeling like I'm about to pass out. It seems to happen when I'm being very busy or rushing around and haven't eaten for a while.

I had one earlier in the week on Wednesday after feeling pretty uncomfortable all day. It felt like Bo was trying to dislocate my right hip from the inside (we know how much he hates my right leg, clearly he wanted rid of it). I was stretched and achy and generally felt sore.

I was also supposed to be decorating the Christmas tree in our room but I just couldn't summon up the energy to stand up. At one point I gave myself a little pep talk in the loos because I knew if I had a funny turn people would be concerned and make a fuss and I really didn't want that. So I, foolishly, said nothing, even though everyone kept asking me if I was okay (clearly I wasn't looking my best either).

When we got home I had a bunch of things to unpack while Mr Click did the washing up, then we headed up for a shower. In hindsight I should have had something sugary and a sit down because by the time I got to the top of the stairs I felt all swimmy. A couple of minutes later I was having a full on puking session.

Lesson learned. Eat more sugar and tell your colleagues when you're feeling like crap and should probably go home early.

For our trip to Glasgow I took precautions. Regular breaks, agreeing to taxi rides when necessary and I carried a pack of sugary sweets with me for an instant energy burst when needed.

It did the trick and I only had two dips in my blood sugar which were resolved with a hot chocolate and three fizzy laces, respectively. I think because I'm aware of what causes them now, I'm better able to handle them when I feel they're coming on and can nip them in the bud when I start to feel tired or heavy, and before I get to the 'oh crap, I'm about to pass out' phase.

There was a lot of sitting around chatting in Glasgow, which was just what I needed. But we got some shopping in too.

I managed to pick up some prizes for a Christmas thing we're doing at work that I've been organising (also a possible culprit for Wednesday's funny turn, I've been crazy busy getting things organised for two different projects, plus my actual work). And we visited the Christmas Market where I picked up this year's snowflake ornament for our tree:

It was at a stall with lots of sparkly jewellery but it caught my eye and I just knew it was the right one for our tree this year.

Tiring though the day was, it was lovely to have a catch up with family (who I'd not seen for three years!) and compare notes on baby bumps.

My cousin thinks I've got a very compact baby bump and looking at it, I'm inclined to agree. It's all in front and, since he's not dropped yet, still pretty high. Mr Click had said that from behind I don't really look particularly pregnant, though I've not had him take any photos as evidence of that.

In hindsight standing in front of the red wall whilst wearing a red top for this photo was a bad idea. I sort of blend in, but there's definitely no denying that bump now.

My t-shirt says 'Baby Bump's First Christmas' because I wanted people to know that's a baby in there rather than too many mince pies while I'm Christmas shopping. But I truly have to admit that I highly doubt people would have thought anything other than baby when they saw my belly!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Glucose Tolerance Test: What to expect

Last Monday saw me back at the midwife (after paying them a visit the previous Friday) for my glucose tolerance test. This is a test which shows whether or not you've developed gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes which can develop during pregnancy where the hormonal changes affect the body's ability to produce insulin.

At my booking appointment I was flagged as likely to need this test because of two factors; a family history of Type 2 diabetes and the fact I was on a cocktail of drugs following the fertility treatment. Later, I was prescribed steroids for the hyperemesis, this in turn increases one's risk of developing gestational diabetes. I think there was at least one other factor which raised my risk as well, possibly the fact I'm over 30. And I was sure that the fact I'd basically spent three months surviving on a diet of sweets and flat dandelion and burdock wouldn't have helped matters either.

When I broached the subject of the GTT test on the Friday, the midwife checked the protocols and agreed I was due to be tested and booked me back in for the Monday.

First things first, you have to fast for a set period of time before the test. I was due in for my first blood test (of three) at 9:15am so was given instructions to fast from midnight. This was the day after my baby shower so I'd had plenty of sweet treats and returned home with a cake. I had a sneaky plan to help myself to a slice if I found myself needing a late night loo trip. Of course I then slept through til 1:30am by which time there was no way I'd get away with a snack.

I was allowed small sips of water, so I was, thankfully, able to take my morning ondansetron. I'd had to check this with the midwife before test day, so if you're on any medication find out if you're allowed to take it. I was so glad they let me have the anti-emetic as if you throw up during the test, you have to repeat it at a later date. I was keen to get it out of the way without having to do a make up test later.

At 9:15am my mum and I rocked up to the maternity unit where my blood was taken. I'd had blood taken on the Friday from the right arm, so we started with the left. You've got to have a total of three blood draws so it's useful to know which veins are your best so you can point them out to the midwife. My elbow veins are great but the fact that I'd not drank much meant I was a little sluggish and it seemed to take ages to get enough into the vial.

I was then presented with a little plastic bottle which looked horribly like a bottle of Ensure at first glance. I'd been expecting Lucozade (which I strongly dislike) so this was a pleasant surprise. It tasted nothing like Lucozade (or Ensure) and was kind of sherbetty, like liquid sherbet fountain.

You've got to down it in five minutes. And then you wait.

This is where you really want to be prepared. Your blood is taken again one hour and two hours after your initial blood draw, so there's a lot of waiting. I was given the option to go away and come back for each following draw, but you're not allowed to move around too much (as this can affect the results of the test) and since it'd be a ten or so minute journey in each direction to head away from the hospital, there seemed little point in leaving.

Mum and I were shown to another room (our maternity unit consists of an examination/appointment room, a second examination room with the birthing pool, an office, a bedroom, a toilet, staff room, cupboard and sluice) since they needed to keep the examination room free for anyone else who came in. We spent most of the first hour sitting in the second examination room with the birthing pool and chatting.

I've heard of some people having these tests and having to sit in the waiting room for the duration, just getting called back for each blood draw. I'm glad that our hospital is small enough that we were just able to chill in a private room.

I'd also recommend that if you can take someone with you, do! Even if you have to sit in a waiting area, time goes a lot quicker if you've got someone to chat with.

We also brought plenty to entertain ourselves. Mum brought knitting, I took some work stuff to do (which I didn't do much with, I'll admit), my Kindle and Johanna Basford's Christmas Colouring Book.

Shortly before my 10:15am blood sample was due to be taken the two midwives who were on duty stopped by to check on how we were getting on, and stayed for a chat about my colouring and mum's crafting.

I have to admit, the two of them are my favourites. K is my named midwife who I've seen right since my first visit to the unit at 6+2 weeks when we rushed up there with the bleed that heralded the loss of Bo's twin. She was totally calm and reassuring, and even called back later in the day to check how I was doing. L is one of the midwives I saw two years ago when we miscarried the twins, she also saw us when we got the call that I was going to need to be admitted at 9 weeks due to the hyperemesis. Again, she was reassuring and concerned for me, making sure I had everything I needed for the journey to hospital and even gave me her bottle of juice from her lunch in case I wanted something to drink on the way. They're just lovely women.

So blood draw number two was back to the right arm and was pretty painful as that one had only been tapped three days before. Once again, I was slow to hit the mark on the vial. The midwife had me wiggling my fingers and everything to try getting it out quicker.

It was also a little after this that I started getting nauseous. I was kind of worried about this because 11am was one of my times when I used to throw up regularly and the last thing I wanted was to fall at the final hurdle. Luckily at this point, the midwife came and asked me if I'd like some tea and toast when I was done. This spurred me on, we'd planned to get something to eat right afterwards but I jumped at the prospect of tea and toast.

The final blood draw soon came round, at 11:15am. This wasn't the best of the three. The midwife wasn't keen on going back into the same left elbow vein as the first one, since it had bled a little afterwards, but she spotted a good looking vein off to the side of my arm, so we gave that one a go.

We won't be using that one again any time soon!

This was taken the morning after. It really surprised me the following morning when I spotted it, I rarely bruise from getting blood taken.

Soon enough I was being brought my tea and toast, and oh my, they don't kid around here! Normally when I've come round from an op you get a couple of thin slices of toast and a little cup of tea. Well, imagine my surprise when the midwife handed me a plate with four thick slices of toast with real butter! It was probably the best toast I've ever tasted. There was so much of it that I had to get my mum to eat some and still left a slice and a half on the plate!

And then we were free to go, at around 11:45am. Perhaps not the best way to spend a morning but it wasn't too bad over all.

Funnily enough, I wasn't too concerned about the results. I knew that either I wouldn't have gestational diabetes or I would, in which case I'd have a new series of appointments to deal with it.

When the phone rang at 5:50pm, right at the end of Oz the Great and Powerful, I was convinced that they'd found something was up and that was why they were calling me. Turns out, it was all good, including the results from the Friday (with the exception of one, which we find out later hadn't been run correctly at the lab ago needed to be repeated on Thursday).

So I cracked out a box of chocolates to celebrate, guilt free!

Oh, and that bruise?

As of Saturday it had gone a delightful shade of eggplant!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

29 Weeks Pregnant

At some point in a little over 70 days I will be having a baby. This is kind of a freaky thought.

I have to say, I've reached a point (which I didn't think would happen four months ago) where I'm actually loving being pregnant. I felt so rotten and awful in the beginning, I worried I wasn't bonding with Bo at all, that I was just going to feel ill the whole way through and would just have to get used to being miserable. But then I started feeling him move and something seemed to change.

Now it's like he's something which is entirely mine. Mr Click gets to see and feel the kicks, but I have to tell him when they're coming or he has to just be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. But I know Bo. I can predict when I'll feel him and what will set him off wiggling. There's something so enjoyable about feeling him move, even if it is in the wee small hours of the morning, and knowing this is just been us.

It's going to be so strange not to share my body with him when he's born. And even stranger to share him with other people; at the moment when the hand drier at work startles him, I'm the only one who knows and reassures him, in February everyone will know when he's startled and anyone could step up and calm him.

So yeah, I'm going to miss being pregnant in 10-ish weeks time. But I'm looking forward to meeting my little guy and getting to know him in a whole new way.

This last week has been really busy, what with my mum coming to visit. I've also been really busy with work as well. I'm not complaining at all, it's been lovely having mum up and I've only got a little over 30 working days till my Mat Leave starts!

Last Saturday we finally took a trip into Glasgow, something I've been wanting to do for about two and a half months. We looked into baby carriers and have settled on the Ergobaby 360 which is a little costly but which ticks all our boxes for what we need. It was kind of weird seeing Mr Click wearing a baby carrier. Exciting too!

We then took a stroll down Buchanan Street to visit Primark on Argyll Street. At which point I realised I need to be aware of my limitations because no sooner had I stepped inside the warm and crowded shop, I felt really faint and had to have an impromptu sit down on the floor. It passed quickly and I relocated to the footwear area (where there were seats) and ate some sugary sweets while Mr Click went off to find the tops I wanted and my mum kept me company.

I think it was in part because of the heat and also because at work I graze all morning and I'd not eaten much that day, so my blood sugar must have dropped. I did figure it would bode well for my glucose tolerance test later in the week, since if my blood sugar was dipping like that, it probably wouldn't come back too high.

The glucose tolerance test was Monday, but I'll blog a little about that in another blog post.

I'll wrap up this post with a truly cute photo. I've been a little anxious about how Tara is coping with all the changes in our lifestyle both now and in the future. She's put up with Mr Click spending more time running after me, she's had fewer walks and trips out than she would like, and we're slowly filling our house up with lots of interesting smelling goodies which so far she's been allowed to sniff but not play with.

But I think she does really love the baby, since whenever we let her back up on the bed this is what she has to do!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Surprise Baby Shower

I have a sneaky, sneaky family and even sneakier friends.

I've mentioned that my mum was visiting last weekend. Since I'm doing much better at not throwing up now, providing I remember to actually take my anti-emetic on time, we've been able to do a whole lot more than during her last visit (when I was 11 weeks pregnant and essentially spent most of my time throwing up).

We'd had a midwife appointment and a meal out on the Friday, a trip to Glasgow for some clothes shopping and to look at baby carriers on the Saturday (which was great though I did overdo it a little and had to sit on the floor of Primark after coming over a bit faint), and on Sunday we planned to recover and take a walk in the afternoon.

I suggested we stroll along the beach at Scalpsie or Kilchattan and my mum jumped on the Kilchattan suggestion. Both mum and Mr Click seemed very keen for me to wear one of my new tops from our shopping expedition the previous day, which was a little odd but I figured they were just both pleased for me to have clothes that fit me again. Mr Click was out playing at church but when he returned he seemed very insistent that we had to leave for our walk pretty soon. Again, a little odd, but once he plans to do something he likes to get it done. I figured he was worried we'd change our minds and not go for a walk after all.

As we headed towards the beach my mum piped up from the back asking 'could we stop at Kingarth'. Again, a strange request, since we'd only traveled about five minutes from home, but I guessed she might have needed the loo.

We pulled up and I spotted my friend's car and speculated that she'd come out for lunch with someone, after all it was her birthday the other day, so that would've made sense. Mum disappeared inside and returned a few minutes later, this time asking me to join her. I was baffled but followed along, wondering if she was trying to make plans for accommodation when Bo is born, or perhaps for family members coming to the christening.

Inside there were a large group of friends and work colleagues. I was kind of baffled and for a moment I thought my mum was bringing me in to see them. It took a few seconds to realise they were all there for me!

I was totally and utterly spoiled. And it turns out that one of my friends had organised most of it, with help from my actually-quite-good-at-keeping-secrets husband, and had even got it arranged for when mum was visiting. Suddenly lots of little things fell into place, like the random insistence on me wearing a new top out and all the people asking what I still needed to get for the baby; one of the things they'd considered getting for us was the cot, until we got that ourselves!

We had presents and afternoon tea. Baby Bo is so well loved and spoiled already. He's got even more clothes, a whole hamper of baby essentials, and even more goodies from his Naini (she already came with blankets, muslins and handmade clothes); this included the essential parenting handbook 'Dr Xargle's Book of Earthlets'.

And then there were the games. We played guess the baby food (all desserts, thankfully) and tried to identify the substances in several nappies (there was some anxiety as the person who organised that one does have a young grandson and we were concerned the nappies looked a little too genuine). And stick the dummy on the baby.

There was even cake, made by my friend with an icing bunny on top. It was a fantastic afternoon.

I never really imagined I'd ever get to have a baby shower, it was something I liked the idea of but just didn't think it would happen. I vaguely at one point thought about trying to get my friends together to meet my mum while she was visiting, but sort of ran out of time to follow through on that idea.

It was great that she was able to come along and be involved. She even got a sash all of her own. I know she enjoyed herself and I definitely did as well.

Now I just need to find somewhere to keep all our new goodies.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

28 Weeks Pregnant: Hello Third Trimester!

I'm so late posting this week, I'm going to blame my mum for that (hi mum!) since she's visiting this weekend and spending time with her has kept me busy and is kind of more interesting than blogging.

Friday just gone saw me hit 28 weeks which means I'm now officially into the home stretch. Third Trimester! It's scary to think how little time we have left now. It's like I've finally gotten used to being pregnant and soon everything is going to change again.

I'm truly loving my bump. I've been one of those women who just can't keep their hands off it, especially since Bo is pretty active and seems to expect some kind of response whenever he makes a move in there. I'm not loving the weird shape of my belly button so much, but it's a small price to pay for this gorgeous, round belly I've got now.

My Ovia Pregnancy app informs me that Baby Bo is currently the size of an echidna which is a painfully spiky animal to be considering in relation to one's reproductive organs!

He's certainly feeling a lot bigger these days and should be clocking in around the 2lbs mark by now. I'm more aware of body parts than I have been in the past. One day last week, after sorting a bunch of baby clothes onto his shelves, I wound up with a little foot using my ribcage as a footrest. Four hours later, after feeling something akin to heartburn in my lower ribcage, I was able to get him to shift it by lying on my side in a warm bath. I angled the side of the bump he was occupying so it was out of the water and he snuggled down into the warm bit. Instant relief! I'm going to have to get them to install a bath for me at work!

As I mentioned, mum's been visiting, and as I had a midwife appointment on Friday I invited her along. Mr Click has been to every appointment along the way for the IVF but I think he finds the midwife catch up appointments a little boring, apart from hearing Bo's heartbeat. He's deaf so he misses a lot of what is said, and there's lots of talking about various bits of my body that he's sort of excluded from, so I gave him the day off from this one and took mum instead so she could listen in on her grandson.

It ended up being a longer appointment than I was expecting. Up till now my appointments have consisted mostly of checking my blood pressure and heart rate (always higher when I'm at a medical appointment), doing a urine dip (finally got the hang of not producing ketones), checking whether I'm still throwing up (only when I forget to take my ondansetron), and then running through a little check list of how I'm feeling, how the baby is doing and topping up any bits and pieces I need like leaflets or vitamins.

This included all of the above but also my anti-D injection and a discussion about the birth and breastfeeding.

The anti-D shot is because I've got Rhesus Negative blood and rather than checking what blood type Mr Click is and trusting that the Glasgow Royal injected the right sperm into my egg, it's more fun to stab me with a really big needle and inject something stingy into my arm! It's basically to protect me, Bo and any future offspring against complications arising from my body becoming sensitised to Rhesus Positive blood.

I was under the impression I'd get two of these shots during pregnancy but it turns out they were giving me the full whack in one go. I'm grateful for this because it's not a particularly pleasant injection, though it's probably comparable to others I've had along the way. More stingy than the Clexane I was on, probably on a level with the Prostap.

One of the downsides to IVF treatment is that you get very familiar with needles and when the midwife brought it out I recognised that it was a green coloured needle. Those are the thick ones I used to draw up the liquid out of a vial before switching to a finger orange one for the actual injection. The anti-D injection is intramuscular so is done with the giant green needle. I felt pretty bruised afterwards and it bled a bit (because the big needle punches a sizeable hole in your arm), but otherwise it wasn't too bad. The midwife kept warning me it would hurt and apologising but it really was no big deal; getting a Prostap shot to my bum then having a bumpy ride home was still more unpleasant than this one.

We chatted about my hopes for breastfeeding, which was kind of good to have my mum there for, since she's done it twice herself. I want expecting the little pop quiz from the midwife about why breastfeeding was good for the baby but I rattled off what I knew about boosting his immunity, giving him the right vitamins and all that jazz. I feel confident that it's something I'll be supported with along the way and that they'll answer any questions I've got along the way.

We chatted about skin to skin after the birth as well, and how Mr Click can be involved with that. Probably the one bit of the discussion he missed out on in this appointment, but he'd already told me he wanted to do it so I knew his thoughts and feelings. He's also expressed a wish to stick at the head end of the bed when his son's born so we spoke about that too. I'm comfortable with him being wherever he's must comfortable during my labour, providing that's conscious and in the same room as me. Him getting squicked out and fainting if things get a bit gory won't do anyone any good!

That kind of led nicely to our discussion about the birth when the midwife checked I was aware that it would be likely I'd be induced at 39 weeks if labour didn't happen naturally by then. It wasn't news to me, but it's kind of scary to actually hear someone else say it.

The main reason for this is because of the IVF treatment. With a 'normal' pregnancy there's a margin of error for when the vast was conceived and how old the placenta is; in an IVF pregnancy we know virtually to the minute. After 40 weeks of pregnancy, IVF babies have a higher rate of complications, which isn't fully understood but is thought to be due to a combination of factors; the placenta gets older and doesn't function as well because the baby is almost done using it, women who have had fertility treatment may be older so don't have age on their side, other factors which caused the infertility might come into play (we're well aware of my endometriosis and the clotting issue that could have potentially stopped the placenta from working in the first trimester), among other reasons. All this means that the closer we get to my due date, the safer Bo will be outside of my body.

The other issue is because I've been flagged as high risk, I'm not allowed to give birth on the island. We have a tiny community birthing unit (one room, plus another with a birthing pool) and they just don't have the tools and equipment for dealing with a complicated labour. The last thing anyone wants is for a helicopter to take them to the mainland while they're in the throes of labour and things have started going wrong.

I'll be giving birth in the consultant led unit in a big Glasgow hospital so it's better that I'm booked in there for a specific date than potentially having to make an hour and a half ferry and road journey, or use the aforementioned helicopter. We should find out more about the specifics at our December consultant appointment.

The midwife had a good poke at Bo and figured out that he was chilling in a had down, bum up position. His heartbeat was just fine (I think measuring between 126bpm and 155bpm while she monitored it); he got a good solid kick on his old nemesis, the doppler, too. It was hard enough that my mum saw it move from across the room. I had my belly measured too and clocked in at 27cm, putting Bo squarely in the 50% percentile.

And that was pretty much it, apart from me asking the midwife about my glucose tolerance test and her realising that I did need to do one and it should have probably been scheduled for that day's appointment.

I did that yesterday in the end, but that's for another blog post.

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!