Sunday, 30 April 2017
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Friday, 28 April 2017
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Tuesday, 25 April 2017
You might have noticed that, along with my thing for rainbows, is that I've got a bit of a thing for unicorns. And that's all because of you.
Unicorns are a bit of a symbol for people undergoing fertility treatments. the saying to 'chase unicorns' means going after the impossible, and let's face it, that's what we were doing when we underwent treatment to bring you into the world. We were told that the likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy was slim to none. Sounds like we were chasing unicorns to me.
By the same token then, if a person who was told they couldn't possibly get pregnant and then they do (even if it took a lot of time, money and professional help to get there), you might say that they've caught that unicorn they were chasing for so long.
And that's why they became a symbol of something bigger than ourselves during treatment.
Your Dad got me a little stuffed unicorn, with a rainbow mane, who came to all of our appointments as a good luck charm. Each time we went to an appointment and it went well or things turned out better than we were expecting, we knew that Ixi had done his bit.
When I picked out slippers to wear to theatre, the ones I selected were unicorn-themed. We played spot the unicorn when we were out shopping, or watching TV, or surfing the internet. Other people got in on it too; sending unicorn-themed gifts and surprises.
Did it help any? Well, if you're here, perhaps it did. It didn't hurt, and spotting unicorns isn't a bad pastime.
And if it seems especially superstitious, well, forgive us for our quirks. I'm sure you'll have a whole host of your own too; you are my kid after all!
All my love,
Monday, 24 April 2017
The first time you see me will probably be a bit of a traumatic experience for you. Thankfully, years from then, as you are reading this letter, you won't have any recollection of it, so I'm going to take you on a little time travel adventure.
Let's go back in time for a minute.
On the day we meet properly you will be forced from the safe, if somewhat cramped, place you have been calling home for nine months, into somewhere bright and loud and scary. You will cry. So will I. And we'll get to meet each other face to face for the first time.
But it won't be the first time that I'm seeing you.
Thanks to modern technology I'll have been keeping an eye on you (along with yet more medical personnel) over the duration of your stay with me. But would you believe that even on the very first scan I have, the one where we double check you're actually in there, that won't be the first time I'm seeing you?
Oh no, that first glimpse of you will happen roughly four weeks beforehand on the day of your transfer. On that day you'll be able to count almost six days of existence (five of those days taking place in February 2017 and the sixth one taking place in whichever month and year you're thawed out, my clever timey-wimey offspring).
I'm hoping that day will be taking place around a month from the date I'm writing this letter. Your father and I will go to the hospital, full of nerves as we wait to find out whether you have defrosted successfully. I will drink roughly a bottle of water in order to fulfill the requirement of having a 'comfortably full bladder' (there's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one, you should try spending an hour with a comfortably full bladder sometime, preferably when you're old enough to do your own laundry, just in case you find it a bit tricky!) and then we will be summoned through to the room.
Beforehand they will have asked if we want to see you on the screen and of course we will say yes! There will be a brief wait (an excited one for your father; slightly uncomfortable for me) and then you will pop up on the TV screen on the wall.
You probably won't be much to look at for most people, but to me you will be beautiful. You will be vaguely circular and kind of lumpy looking in the middle, perhaps with a bobbly bit around the outside where you are starting to hatch. I could gaze on you all day but there's not time because there's somewhere you're supposed to be (and I'll be desperately in need of a bathroom by this point).
Sunday, 23 April 2017
We did the usual boat then train part of the journey but we knew we'd be cutting it fine if we'd tried catching the bus. If I'd made the appointment myself I would've asked for one around 9am but this was made for me by a nurse along with a second a couple of weeks later at 4:30pm (which is equally awkward in terms of getting back). I did make one phone call to try and get the first appointment changed, but then decided I couldn't be bothered playing phone tag so we just forked out the £5 for a taxi up to the hospital. It was all good.
This appointment is the first in our series of appointments for the frozen embryo transfer (which will hopefully take place some time in May). I knew it would involve an injection but I wasn't sure what else would need to be done while we were there.
There were consent forms to sign and paperwork to go over. I came away with a sheet listing the medication I will be on (two drugs longer than the last time), a protocol sheet (detailing what needs to be done when) and a leaflet giving an overview of the frozen embryo transfer process.
I was also weighed, which I wasn't expecting. I briefly regretted all the Easter indulging I'd been doing over the weekend, but my weight was pronounced good. Thankfully!
And then it was time for the injection.
It was a Prostap jab which acts to put my body into a menopausal state, so that the hospital can take over and give me medication to make my body do what they want it to do, rather than what it wants to do. It's a stingy, burny injection which is given intramuscularly. I felt really aware of it for much of that day, in the area where it was injected, up towards my rib cage and down towards my groin. Walking helped to ease it but sitting for too long brought back the weird sensation.
As it puts you into a menopausal state, you can expect to get menopausal symptoms; hot flushes, headaches, mood swings, vaginal dryness (it's so glamourous). One of the ones I clearly remember from the last couple of times I've had it is the spots. I guess since your body is kind of going through puberty backwards, the zit fairy decides to pay a visit.
I've never been a particularly spotty person. I get the odd spot or two around the time my period is due (though I'm never sure if that's linked to the fact I tend to eat loads of crap around that time too), but my spots on Prostap are something else.
And sure enough, on Thursday I started to feel that telltale bump on my chin that heralded an impending spot. I dabbed at it with some TCP (which usually works to quell my spots) but this was not going to be quieted so easily.
By Friday it felt like I was growing a new nose. On my chin. I spent the day at work feeling incredibly self-conscious of the flashing belisha beacon I was sporting on my face. At one point I honestly considered feinting illness to be able to go home early and hide my head in a paper bag.
Friday evening I went to dab it with TCP and it erupted in anger. It was not pleasant. Even now, typing this, I still have an attractive patch on my chin where my skin has decided to rebel against my lack of enthusiasm for my zitty friend.
At least I know the meds are working.
We wrapped up our trip to the hospital with a trek to buy me some much needed new jeans (after one of the boys nibbled a hole in my best pair) and also swung by Paperchase where I became the proud owner of some unicorn stickers and a pencil case. Because if I'm going to get zits like I'm a teenager, I might as well shop like one too!
Now it's just a question of waiting for my body to do its thing. I'll get a bleed after which I'll go back to the hospital to check my lining is nice and thin, ready for them to start artificially plumping it up.
And while I'm not exactly thrilled about my new, spotty face, I'm pretty pleased to be getting things underway again.
Saturday, 22 April 2017
When we moved into our first home together, your father and I, we were delighted to find a little cottage with a spare bedroom. This was back in the early days when we had only been trying to bring you into existence for about a year and a half, and we were optimistic that you would soon be joining us to take up residence in the spare room.
Of course, you didn't. And so it became a general dumping ground.
Occasionally we would talk about having a clear out, or we'd go up there with bin bags and be ruthless in sorting out the junk that had accumulated, with a view to making it ready for becoming a nursery.
I'll admit. We had a couple of wobbles. There was a worn out old desk, covered in junk, up there for the longest time because our first go at IVF had been cancelled and we weren't sure we were going to give it another go.
We decided to stick a bed in there so we could actually use it as a bedroom if guests came to stay and secretly hoped that some day it might be your bed. For a while it was 'the boys bedroom'; the rats had a bedroom all to themselves. I stuck a couple of bookcases up there, optimistically filling one up with children's books that I hoped to be able to share with you some day.
But I planned for the day when that room would become a nursery. I thought about where things would go as you grew, how we would fit more than one of you in there should we need to. I looked at that room as a child would, as a teenager, and I panicked about where the hell we were going to put all our crap when that day came!
It would be nice if we've been able to raise you in a house with a spare bedroom, but if not, I hope we've been able to drop the 'spare' bit of its title and that for you it's just your bedroom. Perhaps it's not the biggest. Perhaps you're limited on where your wardrobe can go because of those sloping ceilings. Perhaps it sucks being right opposite the bathroom. Perhaps you bang your head occasionally getting in and out of bed (those sloping ceilings again). But it's the one spot of the house that is truly yours, and we've been planning it that way since we first set foot in the door.
And I hope I finally found somewhere else to keep all those books!
All my love,
Friday, 21 April 2017
You are probably fully aware that I have a bit of a thing for rainbows. I like to point them out when I see one, whether it's on TV, on someone's T-shirt when we're walking down the street, or an actual real life rainbow in its natural habitat. I like seeing rainbows.
But I wonder if I've ever told you why.
You, my precious Bubbles, are my Rainbows.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
I'm sure you're well aware of this by now, but before you had existed for twenty-four hours we had to make one of the hardest decisions we've ever made. The decision that would affect your whole future and could potentially have made the difference between you being here or not.
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
I owe you an apology. The first time I ever left you in the care of someone else, when they phoned me to let me know how you were getting on, I missed the call.
In my defense, it was the day after you were conceived, I was recovering from surgery, and the last time we'd had a call from an Embryologist to tell us how many embryos we had it wasn't until 10:30am. The fact that your first babysitter (embryositter?) called at 8:30am caught me off guard.
I guess you were kind of ahead of the curve and that's why she was so eager to let me know how you were getting on. But I felt pretty awful. Like I was letting you down in some way because I hadn't been there when I was supposed to be.
Of course, it was okay in the end. I caught her call just a few minutes after I picked up the voicemail. You were on my mind the whole time, even though I didn't know if you existed yet.
I'm fairly certain that this won't be the first important phone call about you that I'll miss. I'm sure there will be messages from school, from your friends' parents, maybe even from you.
But just like that very first time I missed a call about you, I'll always have you on my mind, even if it might not seem like it at the time.
All my love,
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Monday, 17 April 2017
Although I am writing these letters to you as individuals, at the time of writing them I could only imagine you as a group. That's why I address them to 'Bubbles', I can't really think of you in the singular and I'm optimistic that perhaps one or more of you might get to read these letters some day.
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Friday, 14 April 2017
As I write these letters, I can't help but wonder what other languages you might be able to read, write and speak. Obviously English will be your main language, spoken at home, but I wonder what languages will be used in the schools you attend.
Thursday, 13 April 2017
I feel like I must apologise. You've probably worn some truly heinous outfits over the years. For that, and any photographic evidence which exists of those (and which may be shown to potential partners), I am sorry.
I love to knit. I find it very relaxing. You're probably aware of the fact that I hate to be inactive. I love to be doing something. So if I'm watching TV, I like to feel as though I'm being busy. I can't help but wonder if I'll instill that need for 'busyness' in you as well. Hopefully you'll view it as a positive trait if I have.
But back to the knitting.
My favourite thing to knit is toys. I imagine that you will have a legion of stuffed friends, none of whom you will be able to throw out because 'I made those by hand' and 'don't you want to hang onto them for your own children some day'. Sorry.
I imagine I will sit up late knitting characters for your birthday, for Christmas, as a little present to say well done in school or to welcome you home from a trip. You'd probably rather have the latest games console, but trust me, someday you'll treasure those little toys made by hand.
And then there will be the handknits.
My passion for knitting clothes differs somewhat from my passion for knitting toys. For one thing, they usually take longer to make, so by the time you are able to express a preference for what resides in your wardrobe I'll probably be back to churning out dolls and bears again.
But for the outfits you wore in your infancy, those ones I cast on for before I even knew if you'd stuck around... well... sorry about those.
All my love,
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Monday, 10 April 2017
When I think of you as you are now, reading this letter, I probably think of all sorts of things; whether or not you've tidied your room recently, the funny little quirks you have, what you look like when you're concentrating on a good book or film.
When I think of you as you are now, as I'm writing this letter, I picture a hospital. Because that's where you are right now. If we happen to head onto the mainland and drive past the hospital where you are currently housed, I have to wave and say hello to you. I look forward to appointments there because it brings me closer to you, even though you're not actually consciously aware of me being there. You're chilling in the freezer, after all.
Hospitals aren't exactly fun places to visit. The last time I was there (at the time of writing this) was on the day you were conceived, and that involved an operation. I left feeling fragile and emotional and kind of empty. I was leaving you being, even though you barely even existed, and I didn't know when we would be reunited.
But each trip to the hospital feels like it's bringing me a little closer to you. And we've spent so much time there recently, your father and I, that the waiting room with its stiff chairs and old magazines seems almost as familiar as our own living room.
Next time we see you, it will be at that hospital. You won't see us because you won't have developed eyes yet (they'll start to form within about two weeks of the transfer). But we'll see you and it will be amazing!
I like to think that one day we'll take you back there, probably when you're still too tiny to actually appreciate the event. You'll either sleep through it while busy nurses and embryologists take a polite look at you, or you'll cry and scream and we'll cut the visit short to get on with the shopping or whatever else we'd visited the mainland to do. Either way, I'd like to show you where you came from and that hospital is precisely where you started.
All my love,
Sunday, 9 April 2017
I went through a period at the start of the year when I struggled with my knitting mojo. It happens every so often, usually when I've started and abandoned a couple of projects (or at least set them in time out for a while). I get that sense that I want to be making some, but I just don't know what. And since I can't settle on anything, I just end up not doing anything.
Well, this last week and a bit the knitting bug has well and truly bitten me again. I love how productive I feel when I knit; I can sit and watch TV, or read on my Kindle, and keep my hands busy making interesting things at the same time.
This month's issue of Simply Knitting came with a free unicorn toy kit. This felt like a sign to me, especially as it looks like a knitting version of Ixi (my lucky unicorn), so I cast on for it almost instantly (I've still not actually finished reading the magazine, I pretty much got as far as the unicorn pattern and ceased reading).
Cute little fellow, isn't it?
Well, it's also insanely complicated for what it it. Or rather, one bit of it is insanely complicated. I've had this thing in time out twice since I started it!
I got to a bit in the pattern which I struggled to make sense of. You had to knit three sections, the first on the original yarn, the second on scrap yarn (the blue in the picture above) and then wind some of the original yarn onto a bobbin to knit the final section. Each one is knit separately in order to create the two slits you see above.
I read on to the end a couple of times but just couldn't seem to make sense of it, until I posted on Ravelry about it and something clicked. The general consensus with the bit of the pattern I shared was that they weren't sure why I was doing what I was doing, but that I should just go for it and see where it took me.
So I did.
It was only after I'd knitted this section that I realised that blue bit is now supposed to be cut, the stitches unravelled and then the live stitches on either end picked up and knit.
I said to hell with that, and cast on for the head separately so I can cobble it together in my own way. My unicorn just might wear a collar to cover up its messy neck!
At least this did have one positive effect.
I couldn't wait to get back to working on Ernie, who had sadly been standing footless on the windowsill for around a month, waiting for his feet to be sewn up, stuffed and sewn on. All other plans for yesterday afternoon went out the window and I did this:
That's Ernie standing up on his own two (carefully pinned on) feet. I couldn't leave him like that though, stuck full of pins like some giant voodoo doll, so I very carefully stitched them on as well:
And then I realised that the section I'd just so carefully and neatly sewn up, was going to be covered by another piece of knitting so will never be seen.
But you've seen it, so you know it's there!
Other things I've been up to?
Last week I reorganised my bookshelves in the living room:
This is the bookcase I face from my armchair in the living room and it was getting embarrassing. Every time I looked at it (which was pretty much every day) it stressed me out. On top of the books I had books I'd bought in charity shops, pay slips, diaries, notebooks, receipts, fliers, letters, envelopes... you get the idea. The only reason I didn't take a before photo was because I was too embarrassed at the way everything was crammed in there. There were receipts dating back to 2015!
I took everything off, dusted, sorted and organised it all, then just returned the actual books to the shelf.
I also rearranged them so the ones in the back rows are sorted alphabetically by genre, rather than by genre then author. Each time I do this I put the general fiction on the shelf first, then short stories and poetry, then crime, you get the idea. The general stuff keeps getting pushed to the front and the other books kept on winding up at the end of the shelf where they were never read. Now I might actually get to some of them.
So aside from A to Z-ing, I've been pretty busy.
How about you?