Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Breastfeeding: How it's going

Warning: I'm talking about boobs in this post. Obviously this is in the sense of them being my son's source of food, rather than anything else.

Back when we were having the IVF treatment I found myself swinging between 'definitely going to breastfeed' to 'eh, we'll see how it goes'. When I got pregnant I started out leaning towards seeing how it would go but not wanting to put too much pressure on myself.

I was aware that women who have had fertility treatment can be slightly more at risk of postnatal depression. I guess part of it is because you've had a lot of time to think about being a mum and so you build up a picture of how things are supposed to be, as a result of that you put undue pressure to make everything just right. After all, if you couldn't get pregnant on your own, and then the stuff you're supposed to do as a parent doesn't go the way it's meant to, then perhaps the universe was justified in not giving you that baby naturally; maybe you're not really cut out for it. You can see why it can affect the way a person thinks.

So I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself to breastfeed simply because I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself with regards to anything when the baby was born. I stocked up on bottles (well, my Mum generously stocked us up on bottles) and even got some formula in so we were ready.

But then as the pregnancy progressed and I was so ill I found myself worrying about how I would bond with the baby. Then once I started feeling him move and I did bond with him I became painfully aware of the fact that sooner or later I wouldn't have that close connection with my baby anymore. He'd be out in the world and anyone could comfort him, anyone could change his nappy or cuddle him or put him to bed. But breastfeeding would enable me to be the only one to feed him. And as the pregnancy went on, I became more and more determined to breastfeed.

I was worried, of course. I worried that I would hate it; I'm not really into physically contact all that much and breastfeeding requires quite a bit of physically contact between feeder and feedee. I worried that my milk wouldn't come in or would dry up. I worried that I wouldn't know how much my baby boy was getting to drink. I worried it would hurt. I worried that all the nipple creams contained lanolin and I'm allergic so would have to suffer with dry cracked nipples with nothing to soothe them.

If you can think of a breastfeeding related anxiety, I probably had it. And then some you probably never would have considered as well.

As I blogged about previously, we got off to a slightly rocky start with breastfeeding. The rough delivery and my being so poorly afterwards meant my milk took a while to come in. I was all set with colostrum; with a midwife's help I managed to express 2ml into a syringe on Laurie's birthday. Two measly mils but I felt like a superhero. Laurie lapped that stuff up and it just strengthened my resolve.

I'm a stubborn sort of person, so if someone says I can't do something, it only makes me more determined to do it. So when we had the blip with Laurie's weight and we had to supplement with formula, damnit I was going to breastfeed and I was going to do it well. Even if that meant giving my little boy formula as a top up to help him out.

Once home I was leant a pump by our local midwives. I'd been using the Medela Symphony in the hospital and was expecting something similar. What I got was something altogether more industrial looking and I just couldn't get on with it.

I was supposed to be pumping after a feed, on the breast he'd last fed on. In the hospital I'd been getting 20ml a time (10ml per boob) in 20 minutes. At home I was getting 10ml (that's total from both boobs together) and it was taking an hour. And that was an hour that I couldn't be feeding my son.

It worried me that perhaps Laurie wasn't getting enough milk, that the poor little guy was starving and we'd have to give it up entirely. But then I did a bit of research and discovered the pump funnel I was using was 32ml, whereas the one in the hospital had been 24ml. The 32ml funnel was sucking not only my nipple into the tube but also a sizeable bit of boob. And I'm not exactly small breasted. It was painful and made my nipples look like champagne corks, which Laurie then couldn't latch onto.

I gave it a good couple of goes before abandoning the electric pump. I had more success with the hand pump I got from Boots, except it made my hand cramp, I had to work at it for twice as long as the hospital pump to get 20ml, and the thing kept dismantling itself. In the end I gave the electric pump back as they didn't have a smaller funnel I could use with it.

And to be honest, I've not really needed to pump recently. I was going to before our trip to the mainland the other day but Laurie introduced me to the wonderful world of cluster feeding that Saturday and I couldn't get him off the boob long enough to pump.

But he's obviously getting enough as he's gaining weight well now so while it would be nice for his daddy to feed him occasionally, I'm here with him and it's a lot less effort to pop out a boob than to organise a bottle (or as we've been doing, cup feeding).

As I didn't want to invest too much money in breastfeeding before I knew if I'd stick with it, I didn't get any proper nursing clothing beyond my maternity bras. But it turns out I can just wear what I normally wear.

My usual outfit is a long-sleeved top with a Primark vest top underneath. I thought I'd need to switch to some sort of nursing vest top and button front tops. Turns out that my regular clothes are just perfect, especially the larger size vest tops I got during pregnancy to accommodate the growing bump. I just raise the long-sleeved top, pull down the vest top and unsnap my bra. This means I'm able to discreetly feed Laurie and I'm not flashing too much skin.

I mean, look, you'd never know I was doing it:

Please note, this is also photographic evidence of my first time feeding my son in public.

I was kind of worried about this. I even packed a premade bottle of formula in the nappy bag in case I bottled out. My boy was hungry as we got off the ferry so when we got on the train feeding him was the easiest thing.

I'm lucky in that I'm finding breastfeeding relatively easy. My right nipple can get a bit tender sometimes because Laurie's tongue tie makes latching on this side challenging for him. It's mostly during night feeds when we're both tired that it gets sore because I'm tired and lazy about getting him to stay on correctly. That said, I'm yet to use my £18 nipple balm (lanolin free, obviously, hence the price tag).

Breastfeeding will never be right for everyone. At the end of the day, what's best for baby is being fed, regardless of whether that milk is coming from a boob or a bottle.

But for me, breastfeeding is right for us. It's free, there's no sterilising to fiddle with, there's no preparation beyond arranging your clothes for boob access. I'm cheap and lazy and it works for me.

It also allows me a certain degree of closeness with my boy. I'm hoping to keep going for as long as Laurie wants to.

Though I may need to reconsider how I feel about that once he has teeth!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Five Weeks Old

Laurie hit five weeks old this morning. It's a little bit scary how quickly time is going. Five weeks ago he was a tiny little thing (though he seemed huge at the time); now he's so much bigger and such a proper little person too. It's amazing that someone so tiny can have so much character.

Day One and Day Thirty-Five

I feel like this last week we've seen a major jump in how alert and aware of his surroundings our little boy is. He's settled into a real pattern of activity now so I can predict when he'll be awake and wanting entertaining and when he'll be sleepy or hungry. And quite often when he cries it seems to be because he's bored rather than because he's hungry.

Tuesday was a massive milestone for me. I spent the whole day alone with him, from 9am to 9pm. I was a little worried about how I'd get on with him. As it happened we got on very well. He spent an awful lot of the time looking like this:

He even slept through the vacuum cleaner. In fact, he slept through that quite happily but woke up when I foolishly closed the kitchen door.

Mr Click returned home that night with a baby hamper from our local supermarket! We've been so lucky with all the gifts we've received from people but they've been so unexpected. It's incredible to think that there are so many people who love our little boy. We're so fortunate.

We had another Health Visitor appointment and Laurie impressed her by weighing 7lbs 15oz. He's almost back to that all important birth weight (though I'd say he's about right on track considering his birth weight was rather inflated due to the fluids I had sitting labour). And we don't need another visit for a couple of weeks.

She also brought our Book Bug bag of books. I'm always thrilled to get new books and I think Laurie's enjoying them too.

We're getting plenty of walks in too. Wednesday was a walk down town with the pram and Saturday was on the estate with the Ergobaby carrier.

Laurie stayed more awake in the carrier than he does in the pram. He was having a good look around as we walked and the only time he cried was when we stopped for a few minutes to take photos. I'm looking forward to many more walks like this. I'm a bit out of shape so we're working up to it gradually but it feels good to get out the house and see the area where we live. It's changed a bit in the last year.

And yesterday was my first Mother's Day.

It's been a long time coming.

Laurie spoiled me by sleeping late so I was able to use both hands to eat my breakfast! I also got cards, some gifts and afternoon tea out at a local beach. It was definitely worth the wait.

We're also getting proper smiles now too. I'm yet to catch one on camera but it's the cutest thing. His eyes crinkle up like little crescent moons and his mouth curls up. It's my new favourite thing in the world.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

My First Mother's Day

First things first:

Happy Mother's Day to all:
 - the mums
 - the stepmums
 - the dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents and other family members who are taking the place of mums
 - the mums to be

and especially to the people who find the day tough, the people who have been dreading the day since the shops started advertising it coming, the people who don't have a mum to spoil and celebrate with, and all the mums with empty arms who won't be waking up to sticky kisses and homemade cards:
 - the ones who have said goodbye to their little ones far too early
 - the ones who never got to meet them or hold them and discover the awesome people they would become
 - the ones who are mothers at heart but are still waiting for the child who will complete them

Have a wonderful gentle day.

Today was my first ever proper Mother's Day as a mother. I've had Mother's Days before, but they were with frozen embryos waiting for me in Glasgow, or after we'd lost the twins so there was no baby bump to celebrate with. I was more excited for this day than for my own birthday this year.

And my boys didn't let me down.

Laurie slept late so I was able to eat my breakfast with both hands free. And then there were cards (from both Laurie and my Mum), and a gift bag containing chocolate, a teddy and a mummy mug.

And then there was a surprise trip out for cake and afternoon tea.

Laurie was a little angel and slept through it.

It's been a wonderful weekend (yesterday there was a relaxing bath and Chinese). And I'm looking forward to celebrating again in the years to come.

Friday, 9 March 2018

One Month of Laurie

I'm currently lying in bed with my little guy snuggled up beside me and I should really use this time that he's sleeping to nap myself, you know, the whole 'sleep when they sleep' thing. But I know that the minute I try to close my eyes, he'll start demanding another feed; Laurie has a sixth sense for knowing when mummy is trying to do things that don't involve him.

Case in point: He's just started to stir, burped and is now trying to latch on to my t-shirt! He knows!

Bear with me...

Okay, now he's happily nursing, I can continue.

I thought I should do a quick run through of the first four weeks of Laurie in the hopes that I can start blogging a little more frequently about how awesome my son is. And other things of course.

Week One was mostly spent getting to know the little guy and most of this was done in hospital. That kind of meant that once we were discharged we had to relearn who we were in our normal home environment.

I'm going to do this in bullet points since it's easier.

  • The journey home was uncomfortable for me since it was the longest I'd sat upright since I'd had him. Probably not helped by the detour to Tesco and Boots as I searched for a hand pump.
  • Laurie didn't stir from the moment we fastened him into the car seat to the time we got home. I sat in the back seat with him and occasionally poked him to check he was still breathing.
  • His first visitors were in the Co Op car park where I was sitting in the car with him while my Mum and Mr Click went to pick up essentials. His next visitors were our next door neighbours when we arrived back at the house.
  • We had our first midwife visit and I was loaned a pump which I DID NOT get on with.
  • He also had his first visit from Mr Click's parents. They loved him, of course.

Week Two dawned and we started to settle into a routine of sorts. Some days we didn't leave the house, some days I didn't get dressed, some days I did but only long enough for the midwife visit and then I was back to jammies.
  • We celebrated it being exactly one year since Laurie's conception. That was kind of weird, holding my nine day old son and knowing his life had started exactly one year beforehand.
  • I finally did my last injection for the foreseeable future. I'd been put back on clexane after the birth due to blood loss, transfusion and lack of movement putting me at risk of clots.
  • We had more midwife visits, Laurie continued to very slowly put on weight.
  • He also started to develop his own little routine, giving us 3-4 chunks of sleep at a time through the night. He's been pretty consistent about this ever since which is awesome. I'm actually getting more sleep now than during pregnancy!
  • We got him registered. That felt like such a big deal to me. Just seeing his name written out in full makes me smile. Afterwards we went out for lunch, this was my first proper trip out, and I psyched myself up for feeding him in public. He slept the whole time.
  • I realised that my pre-pregnancy clothes fitted me again! Just in time to venture out for another lunch, which once again, Laurie slept through!
  • His Naini did lots of knitting; first a trio of woodland creatures (two hedgehogs and a squirrel) and then a cute little pixie hat. She also did lots of dog walking, washing up, laundry, ironing, vacuuming, general reassuring, baby cuddling and comforting, and taught us how to give Laurie a bath. I don't know what we'd have done without her!

We began Laurie's third week feeling fairly confident that we were getting the hang of things.
  • Of course then we said goodbye to my Mum which meant we had to settle into a new routine with one less pair of hands.
  • That day I also sent Mr Click to his band practice so I spent about three hours home alone with the baby. It was kind of scary and also wonderful too. I spent most of the time trying to get the washing up done; I got as far as putting the washing up liquid in the bowl. It was a successful evening.
  • We had our first health visitor visit before Mum left. She picked up on his jaundice so later in the week we had a visit from a midwife to do a bilirubin check, which then led to a paediatrician call, which then led to a hospital appointment for the following week. This was a little alarming though we didn't actually think there was a problem. Spoiler alert: There wasn't.
  • Laurie started getting really alert and aware of the world around him. He's developed a fascination for the strings of cards up on the wall, the curtains, the pattern on my in-laws' sofa. His eyes seemed to get a shade lighter too. It was amazing to see how he changes from day to day.
  • He also had a bit of the snuffles, poor guy. We got this saline nasal spray which he hated. The more we used it, the better he came to recognise the spray bottle and started crying before we could get it in his nose. It took two of us to do it in the end. Happily he was only snuffly for a couple of days.
  • My Mum and Stepdad bought us our travel system and we'd been using the car seat every time we went out with Laurie, but we'd not taken him out in the pram until this week. I was finally feeling up to walking a more substantial distance so we took a stroll to town and back. It took about 90 minutes because people kept stopping to see the baby and talk to us. It was great.
  • We also got our Ergobaby carrier. I'd tried Laurie in the fabric wrap sling and he responded like I was torturing him. He fell asleep in the Ergobaby carrier and I was able to cut Mr Click's hair while I carried the baby. We're planning some short walks on the estate in the coming weeks.
  • And Laurie's little personality is coming out in spades. Remember when I was pregnant and his stuck his foot up his nose on the scan? Well he's still just as much of a little goofball. On his three week birthday we couldn't help but behind even more aware of what a cheeky little guy he is. I can't wait to see how this side of him develops.

On his three week birthday, the start of fourth week with us, Laurie had his first trip off the island.
  • This was as a result of the bilirubin check the previous week. Rather than driving we took the train and bus, with Laurie in the pram. I had my first experience (or four) of breastfeeding in public and he mostly slept. His appointment went well too, though he was thoroughly unimpressed at having his blood taken, otherwise I think he enjoyed the day. And he got his first (but not last) experience of being out in the snow.
  • Then things got a little crazy with the weather.
  • My Aunt and Nan came up for a visit, then got stuck in Scotland (though not on the island unfortunately) because of the weather. Laurie and I were snowed in for the rest of the week. It was just too deep and icy for us to safely get out, though luckily Mr Click was able to venture out on the Friday for more supplies. I read a lot and got kind of stir crazy from watching so many films but there was little else for us to do.
  • It was kind of funny to see Laurie's reaction when we took him to the window first thing each morning, it would be so bright that he could barely open his eyes. He'd just look really puzzled by it each time we went to the window.
  • I invested in a second-hand breastfeeding pillow from the local Facebook resale page. This thing is a godsend. I'm able to feed Laurie whilst retaining the use of one, sometimes two hands. The biggest thing this enables me to do is actually use a knife and fork again rather than trying to do things one-handed.
  • Laurie also likes to be held. To start off with I was trying to put him down in the Moses basket whenever he fell asleep, but inevitably he'd wake up and start crying; sometimes it'd only be a few minutes, sometimes we'd get an hour or more. Kid just likes to be cuddled. The pillow means he can dose off and still feel held close, but I have my hands free. To be honest, I love holding him and I love that the place he's happiest to fall asleep is my arms. He'll only be small and cuddly for a little while so I intend to get as many cuddles in as I can now.
  • I think it won't be much longer before we get a real smile from him as well. He's coming so close. His eyes look like little inverted brackets and he opens his mouth real wide. His Great Aunt brought him a little monkey wooby and I've been bopping Laurie on the nose with it; most of the time he gives you his little proto-smile back. I can't wait to see it for real and figure out what we need to do to bring it out.

And now we're closing in on the end of his fourth week with us.

He's doing so well and growing so fast. The last month has both gone so quickly and so slowly. It's all kinds of surreal and incredible.

And a little part of me still can't quite believe he's mine!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Hospital Stay

Thank you for all the kind messages welcoming little Laurence to the world. And yes, I'm biased, but he is without a doubt the most adorable baby I've ever laid eyes on.

As I mentioned on his birth announcement post, we had a bit of an extended stay in hospital so I thought I'd say a few words about that.

Day 3
Laurie was born on the third day of my hospital stay so I'm starting from there.

Allow me to take you back for a second to the minutes following my son's birth. After he'd had his checks by the paediatrician I was handed a bawling, wrinkle-faced newborn. I'd wanted to say something really profound to him but instead I think I mumbled something about being his mummy and kept repeating 'I know, I know' in response to his cries. I was feeling rather swimmy headed at the time.

At one point I glanced down the bed and saw the placenta had been delivered and marvelled at the fact I wasn't aware of that actually happening. I also noticed that there seemed to be rather a lot of people working down that end of the bed.

Then someone came back and said that the baby was going to his daddy now and started talking about me going to theatre. As they took Laurie from my arms and handed him to Mr Click I took another look down the bed where there seemed to be even more people and a bowl full of blood. Somewhere at the back of my mind I managed to focus on the thought 'oh no, that's not good'.

And the next thing I knew I was being wheeled away to theatre.

Although I'd been told I might not be knocked out, once there the decision was made to put me under. I found myself painfully aware of an episode of ER where Abby has Luka's baby and she haemorrhages so has a hysterectomy. My last thought as they put me to sleep was 'please don't take my uterus' and rather hilariously in hindsight 'it's going to be expensive enough to fund a frozen embryo transfer, I can't afford a surrogate as well!'

And the next thing I knew I was coming round in some place with Mr Click on one side of me and a baby in a plastic crib on the other. I guess I drifted in and out of consciousness for a while because at one point Mr Click told me he was going and then the next minute I was aware that he wasn't there anymore.

By about lunchtime I was conscious and once I found my phone I messaged my husband asking him to come back. I'd had a cuddle with the baby, with the help of a midwife, but I'd also been told I needed a blood transfusion and I wanted Mr Click with me right then and there. He'd been sent to the hotel by the midwives to get some rest and had intended to come back to see me later that afternoon anyway.

The rest of that day is a bit of a jumbled blur. There was an attempt to breastfeed, a session of expressing colostrum into a syringe, a bed bath and the changing of my sheets/getting dressed into a nightie. I know that last one happened before the blood transfusion because I'm wearing the nightie in the photo Mr Click took of me holding Laurie whilst receiving the blood but I have no recollection of when it actually happened.

The day ended with one of the midwives coming to tell me, shortly before midnight, that it was snowing outside. A nice little welcome to the world for Laurie from his snowflake siblings.

Day 4
This was the day I finally made it out of recovery and onto the ward (which I then Brianne convinced I would never leave). I'd been kept in recovery because there was a chance I was going to need another blood transfusion, something I managed to avoid.

Once I had my catheter out I was able to get up, go pee and then take a shower. Just going to the toilet proved to be exhausting and on the short walk back to my bed I wondered if I would make it. Every step hurt. Thankfully I was able take my shower sitting down.

Laurie and I were then wheeled up to the ward where we ended up in the same room as my stay at 9 weeks, in fact I was in the bed next to the one I stayed in before. That meant my window looked on to the corridor rather than out on to the roof.

My Mum arrived and she and Mr Click came in to visit. Technically only partners are allowed to visit 11am to 9pm, extra visitors are supposed to follow the afternoon visiting times. We were able to get special dispensation due to her having come all the way from Wales.

I was thrilled to see both of them, but again, most of Tuesday is a bit of a blur. Mum brought Laurie and I some gifts, and I remember some suggestively shaped cream cakes. We chatted through the day and passed the baby back and forth. Mostly I felt really tired, I'm guessing this was a combination of the birth, exhaustion and the blood transfusion (which I've heard can make people feel funny for a while afterwards).

Day 5
I was anticipating this being my last full day in the hospital. I felt like I was moving a lot easier, though this was the day I toppled over backwards, landing on my backside, as I crouched down to pick something up. I'm still feeling bruised from that!

This was the day that breastfeeding properly clicked for us. Laurie has a slight tongue tie and that combined with the traumatic birth/blood loss slowed down my milk coming in. Laurie got the hang of latching on the left side but because of the tongue tie it took a touch longer to get the hang of latching on the right.

As you can see from the photo above, Laurie had a touch of jaundice. It was within normal levels though, so we weren't too concerned and all his other checks were fine. Though he needed a retest on his hearing screening.

There was still some concern about my blood pressure being high and my iron levels being low. All the stuff I was being given for pain, iron levels, and to help me go to the loo, along with too much dairy, conspired against me and upset my stomach, which then had them questioning whether I might have an infection and need quarantining. But I was determined I was getting out the following day, although in hindsight a quarantine room would have helped me get a little more sleep I'm sure.

I was also looking forward to getting home and getting into a proper routine with the baby. At night in the hospital it was just me and Laurie; I know there were midwives and auxiliary staff to help, but it felt an awful lot like going it alone. At home I knew I would have two extra pairs of hands any time I needed them, and I wouldn't have to wave them off at the end of the day just when I needed them most.

Day 6
We were going home! Mum and Mr Click had been having to extend their stay at the B&B but this was the day they would check out and finally head back to the island.

That morning I dressed Laurie in the little outfit I'd planned for his going home. He was totally channelling baby Toby from Labyrinth.

I showered and dressed and started to organise all my stuff ready to get out of there.

Alas it was not to be.

The midwife came to do the discharge paperwork and went through everything with me. We were almost ready to go.

Then someone decided to weigh Laurie. I've since found out that it's not standard procedure to weigh the baby at this point and also due to the length of time I was receiving fluids during labour he was incredibly puffed up so had a lot of fluids weight to lose.

Laurie was down 11% of his birth weight, so we weren't allowed to leave.

I cried.

I was feeling miserable. I was running out of clean things to wear. The baby was running out of clean things to wear. The hospital food was upsetting my stomach. The constant noise and light on the ward was keeping me from sleeping. My backside was sore from my tumble and the hospital bed wasn't helping that at all. The toilet paper was rough.

Not getting to go home brought it all to a head, especially because this latest turn of events meant that apparently I was starving my son or something.

I was set up with a breast pump and the plan was to pump every three hours in the hopes that Laurie would gain back that magic 2% of his birth weight to get us out of there. We cup fed him to avoid him getting an easy go with the bottle (since his tongue tie meant he had to work harder at the breast) and I started to feel confident that we were doing a good job.

Until that night when one of the midwives told me off for comfort nursing the little man to get him to sleep, told me she'd seen more babies struggle with switching between cup and breastfeeding than switching between bottle and breastfeeding, and told me if he was fussing and keeping me awake she'd take him away and give him a bottle of formula.

I cried some more and spent the rest of my hospital stay pretending to be asleep when she came round.

Day 7
I had a feeling we wouldn't be getting out of there this day. Whereas the previous day I'd confidently showered and dressed, I didn't bother this time. I guess deep down I knew he hadn't gained anything.

First there was the matter of his jaundice. He still registered a reading on the meter but it was low enough to be normal for his age.

But his weight? He'd not lost anything, but he hadn't gained any either. So we were still stuck.

This time I really cried. In fact, just thinking about that hopeless, helpless feeling I felt stuck in that hospital bed, no fresh air, no proper daylight, no proper food or loo roll, makes me want to tear up a bit. Even though I'm writing this in the comfort of my own home, my own bed, nursing my son with my Labrador at my feet.

We got a new feeding plan. I was to pump to feed him and then top him up with formula, then offer the breast in between times. Even at the time this sounded backwards to me. Surely to encourage him to feed he needed more opportunities to take the boob, not less.

The result of this was, of course, that he would fill up on the milk I pumped, take the formula I coaxed into him, then would fall asleep any time I tried to put him on the boob. He was full, he didn't need to breastfeed. And the formula made him sicky and gassy. So I was constantly having to get his bedding changed and mop him up.

On the plus side, I did learn how to cup feed by myself so I didn't have to spend the night pushing the buzzer and hoping I didn't get the midwife who made me cry.

Despite the feeding plan feeling like the complete opposite of what I should be doing, I went along with it because I wanted out. But I also formulated a plan.

If his weight was down again at the next weigh in I would ask to switch to formula feeding, even though it made him puke and windy. I'd formula feed til he gained enough to get us out of there and then once home I'd ask the local midwives for help reestablishing breastfeeding.

I also intended to send a text to one of the local midwives or get Mr Click to give them a call because the hospital seemed to think that once we left we would be on our own, as though we lived in some little backwater without maternity or postnatal care.

They kept telling me it was better to be there than risk having to be readmitted later. But I had a horrible feeling that part of the reason we were still there was because I was still in hospital. It was like a vicious circle; the longer I was there, the more stressed and tired I became, and the more stressed and tired I became, the harder it was to feed Laurie, so we were detained even longer.

Having a plan to help get us out made me feel a little better and I was optimistic that if we called on the local midwives, they might help us escape.

The Escape
As it turns out, that wasn't necessary.

My final morning in hospital dawned and the midwife who admitted me exactly a week before was on shift. And she was shocked to see me still there.

I told her everything that had happened that week and she replied 'we'll get you out today'. All my nefarious plotting to get us out come hell or high water was unnecessary. I was getting out of there.

I also spoke to her about my feeding plan and admitted I was basically going along with it to get out of the hospital and she said one of the best things to me. Seriously, this is something that all new mums should be told. Midwives should have it tattooed across their foreheads.

She said 'Ultimately we can only give you guidance. At the end of the day, it's your baby and you have to do what's right for you and him.'

And then she weighed him and he was at 9% down from his birth weight, so we were allowed to leave. I couldn't believe it. I'd not let myself believe it was possible so I hadn't even bothered to get dressed.

And so we were finally able to venture out into the big wide world with our son and head home.

Via Boots to pick up a breast pump. Which I've used once since we got it.

Because it turns out that being home makes me feel so much more relaxed that breastfeeding goes a hell of a lot easier!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Introducing the baby formerly known as Bo...

I'm a little late posting this, considering the boy will be four weeks old on Monday. In my defence, I've been kind of tied up with a newborn, so I think I can be excused.

The short version is that I went into the hospital on the 3rd of February. Induction was started via pessary and two days later, shortly before 5am, weighing 8lbs 7oz (so much for my predicted 7lber, but on the plus side, I basically was back to my pre-pregnancy weight simply by delivering the baby), Laurence John Henry was born.

The long version is long. And contains way too much information about my cervix, so if you're not into that sort of thing, just enjoy this photo of my son on his birthday.

I arrived at the hospital at 2.30pm on the 3rd, got hooked up to a monitor and then around half an hour later got pessary number one. Within a few hours of this I was getting waves of period pain which I didn't realise until I was hooked up to the monitor later on were actually contractions. At my first examination my cervix was too high to feel properly.

I took some paracetamol and something with codeine which eased them off for a while but they son came back with a vengeance and my second examination revealed the cervix was lower and the midwife could feel it starting to open. By the time I was being monitored with pessary number two I was having regular contractions which were registering around 30/40 on the monitor.

These of course tapered off during the early hours of the morning and virtually stopped completely which was disheartening but my third examination allowed the midwife to touch the baby's head so they'd obviously been doing something. I was later examined by a doctor (with the largest hands in the world!) who was able to tickle the baby's head (and what felt like my tonsils as well!) sand pronounced my waters ready to break.

I had a wait of about an hour to go to the labour ward and was expecting more of a wait to get things started once I was there, but things progressed pretty quickly.

I got checked in just before 5pm and we ran through the plan. My waters were broken about an hour later and I discovered the joys of gas and air. There was meconium in the water which changed our plans for immediately after delivery slightly (no delayed cord clamping or skin to skin until he'd been checked over) but they were happy with his heartbeat and everything at the time.

I'd planned to labour upright and on all fours as much as possible and did try both but couldn't get comfortable on my feet (and the gas and air made my feet feel sort of numb which was distracting) and all fours made the contractions feel different. In the end we adjusted the bed into a chair and I perched on the edge of it in a sort of squat for a lot of the time, occasionally turning round and hanging over the edge.

I'm not sure how far into things I was but it was a few hours from the start that I started to panic that the gas and air wasn't helping with the contractions so well. Although I'd said I didn't want morphine, I took it and the relief was immense. The gas and air started helping again and I was able to snooze occasionally as well. As the contractions the night before had kept me awake, this was very much needed. Poor Mr Click had even less sleep than me that weekend!

By the early hours of the morning I was starting to get an urge to push and an examination showed I was at 7cm. I had arrested to struggle with pain relief again and tried to decide whether I wanted an epidural. I was concerned about being stuck on the bed as I was back to experimenting with different positions so I was allowed to wait a little longer and have some more morphine.

I then panicked that I'd made the wrong decision as the pain got steadily more intense. This was due to his head moving right down though and it wasn't long before I had an uncontrollable urge to push.

I must have been pushing for about three hours in total. At 2.40am the midwife asked me what time I wanted him out by and I said 3am. Well, that didn't happen and neither did my next target of 4am.

This was easily the worst part of the whole labour (and that's including the multiple times I threw up thanks to a combination of not having my ondansetron and taking the morphine). I was in agony; the gas and air wasn't touching it to the point that I mostly gave up using it because all it was doing was making me feel fuzzy without taking away the pain. We cycled through a bunch of positions but they seemed to either increase the pain too much or dull it to the point where I couldn't push effectively.

Once again I ended up sort of sit-squatting on the bed. I was getting exhausted and miserable and panicky. The midwife basically told me that I needed to get him out or we'd be looking at forceps/ventose. That was probably what I needed because I started pushing like a woman possessed.

I was led to believe I would forget the pain but it's still very fresh in my mind. Somehow I knew I was going to tear but I kept on pushing and it all happened in seconds. One moment I was trying to get his head out sand the next minute it was delivered, there was a wet slithery feeling and suddenly there was a massive baby on the bed between my legs!

He was rushed off to be checked over because of the meconium. He was brought back to me briefly but by that point I was bleeding very heavily so he went to his dad instead while they tried to get my bleeding under control.

I'd torn very badly but I was also having a post-partum haemorrhage and my uterus wasn't doing what it was supposed to. The next thing I was getting whisked off to theatre and knocked out for a repair job. Mr Click and Laurie got a lovely long cuddle though and whenever Laurence is having a big crying jag, his dad just needs to speak to him to calm him down. It's amazing and I'm so glad they got that time to bond.

I wound up with a third degree tear and lost 1.8l of blood so needed a transfusion. The swelling to my nether regions was incredible, I've never seen anything like it! I spent Laurie's first day on earth with a condom full of cold water in my (super sexy mesh) pants to help bring it down some!

Hospital proved to be a bit of an ordeal. I'll maybe blog a little about our stay later. We didn't get discharged until a full week after we'd been admitted for the induction. This was both expensive (as Mr Click and my mum had to check into a B&B and then check out each day as they waited to find out if Laurie and I were going to be discharged, then check back in when we weren't) and incredibly stressful (which is really the last thing you need when you've j just had a baby).

All the same, Laurie is a little delight. After a shaky start, we've got the hang of breastfeeding. He's been an alert little boy from day one and in the last almost month had become even more alert and engaging.

On the whole he's very happy. He cries when he's hungry, if he's dirty or if he's not happy about the amount of attention he's getting. Once we got out of hospital he started sleeping like a dream, giving us 3-4 hour stretches at a time.

He's got really big hands and feet, is incredibly strong (he's been trying to hold his head up since day one and can push himself off your lap with his legs). His hair is incredibly soft, getting blonder by the day and he has this little widow's peak thing going on at the front. His eyes are blue and have been getting lighter since he was born; I can't wait to see what shade they end up.

He also farts like no one else I know!

We've stumbled over some hurdles since he was born. First there was my recovery, then he lost 11% of his birth weight so we couldn't be discharged (though since then we've established this was largely due to me, and so also him, being pumped full of fluids for twelve hours during labour so he was born all puffed up), then there was an extended period of jaundice which needed to be looked in to.

But almost a month into this parenting thing and I feel like we're doing a good job. I've got a handle on what he wants and needs so I'm hoping I'll be able to blog a little more frequently again but in the meantime if you're being a little more of a Laurie fix (and who could blame you, he's adorable), I post rather obsessively on Instagram at the moment.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

A Year Ago Today

Dear Baby Bo,

Very soon I will be meeting you face to face. In a week's time your Daddy and I, sleep deprived and so in love, will be holding you in our arms and marvelling over every yarn, sneeze and burp. But a year ago things were very different.

A year ago today you weren't.

This is perfectly normal for most babies. Most babies don't exist a full year before they're born. But you're not like most babies and a year ago today the ball had well and truly started rolling on bringing you into the world, even though it would still be another fortnight before you as you really existed.

Traditionally you need two ingredients to make a baby, but you were cooked using an extra special recipe.

A year ago today we went to pick up some of the ingredients we needed to make you, and the following day I started with my first injection.

A year ago today the scan showed I had 16 antral follicles which the medication would grow (along with some friends they recruited along the way until I had over 40) and one of those would produce the egg that helped make you (and any little brothers or sisters you might end up with in the future).

A year ago today the parts that helped make you were just on the cusp of springing into being and now, a year on, you're just on the cusp of emerging into the world.

I can feel you squirming in my belly (kicking at your Daddy's hand the second he places it on my belly but being rather more nonchalant about your response to my hand) and I wonder if you have any idea of what's to come. This coming weekend is likely to be long and hard for both of us, but we've survived everything else so far, and we'll get through this as well. I can't wait until we can look into each other's eyes for the first time, instead of peeking in on you via television screens and I wonder what you'll make of me when I'm more than just a heartbeat, food supply and a sensation of the outside world.

I'm going to miss feeling you inside of me, but I can't wait to have you in my arms at last, I've waited a long time for this, Baby Boy.

See you soon,
All my love,

Your Mummy

Monday, 29 January 2018

38 Weeks Pregnant

I know, I'm late with this week's update. For no other reason than the fact that I've been too lazy to actually post anything.

I've also been trying to get Baby Bo's bump to baby book updated and so the time I've been spending online has been used up comparing old blog posts, forum posts, social media posts and the like to make sure I'm getting my dates right for everything. As of yesterday I'm up to 25 weeks pregnant so hopefully by the end of the week I'll be ready to start filling it in for his birth!

The last week has been a bit of a long one. Last Friday, to celebrate the end of my first week off work (and since I was taking the time as holiday) Mr Click and I decided to go out for lunch. This plan was almost foiled when his phone decided to pack up.

Let me tell you, there's never a good time for your phone to die on you but roughly two weeks before your wife is die to have your baby is probably up there as one of the worst!

We established it was under warranty so arranged for it to be sent off for repair, but that left Mr Click with no phone at all. And no one on the island sold even the most basic of replacements. Scratch that, we couldn't even get a non-basic replacement locally. Thank goodness for Amazon.

I've been feeling really lazy this bit of the week as well. I've had days at home where I've spent a lot of time chilling on the sofa or in bed. I'm still getting bits and pieces done around the house but I feel like most of what needed to be organised has been (I could still do stuff in the spare bedroom but I'm not sure I've got the energy levels to start anything too in depth).

And I've grown massively this last week.

I don't normally do week to week comparisons, but I think you'll agree that this week's kind of called for it!

I especially like the way that the bump barely fits in the frame anymore. I think if I was to march into work looking like this now it'd make my colleagues eyes pop out. So much for the nice little bump!

Now despite being lazy for the latter half of the week, I was pretty busy on Monday (my first official day of Mat Leave).

We ordered some plastic storage drawers for the baby's room, to accommodate some of his bulkier clothes, so I made room for them. I also got distracted by the contents of my Scottish Baby Box (again) and had a go at playing with my fabric wrap for carrying the baby, with a little help from Teddy Henry, my very first bear, who had no complaints about the thing.

This is me rocking the jammies and unbrushed hair look. I've spent way more time in my jammies than I said I would during my Mat Leave. Okay, so it was only two days this week (Saturdays don't count) but it's easier than wearing the clothes I'm planning on taking to the hospital and then having to wash and dry them before the big day. At least that's my excuse!

Mr Click got in on the baby (teddy?) wearing action too:

I'm impressed at how easy the wrap is to tie. The thing is four times longer than me so I'm not sure how practical it'll be when we're out places and I'll be wanting to take it on and off; the Ergobaby we're planning to get in the next few weeks will be better for that. But for around the house and nipping it when Bo will be in it the whole time, it'll be perfect.

The aforementioned drawers also arrived, came home and freed up some space on Bo's shelves. I don't think I'll ever get tired of sorting through teeny tiny outfits!

As for Bo himself? He's all good. We had our last local midwife appointment before he arrives (unless he gets any funny ideas).

It was a general chat, an overview of what to expect at this week's coming 'sweep', the basic idea of what the induction will entail (a list of places where Mr Click could check in to be near the hospital while I'm induced was also provided so we got that booked), and then the routine poke and prod.

While the midwife was trying to check whereabouts his head was in my pelvis, Baby Bo stuck his bum right out. This massive bulge appeared in my belly, inches from my head, she said 'oh hello' and we all got the giggles. He really wasn't in the mood for being poked!

He'd not really moved any lower down since my last appointment. His heart rate was fine and he's still measuring on his roughly average growth curve. She estimated his weight at birth to be a little over 7lbs, though given that recent bump photo, I'm beginning to have my doubts about that!

And now we're heading into our final week countdown.

We're experiencing some bad weather at the moment so I'm hoping Bo sticks with the schedule and doesn't get any ideas about coming before next weekend.

Do you know how crazy it is to think I'm having a baby next weekend?!

By the time I next update the blog, he could be here!

Friday, 19 January 2018

37 Weeks Pregnant

Considering this week is supposed to have been a holiday, I've been incredibly busy for the 36th week of my pregnancy. Today I'm 37 weeks along and you can see I've grown quite a bit in the last 20 weeks!

I've just weighed myself and I'm roughly 11 stone now so I'm only a little over half a stone heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight! And Baby Bo is currently accounting for a little over 6lbs of that. Thank you, hyperemesis!

And now for our busy week:

Mostly spent getting laundry done. I had a bunch of newborn babygrows that I needed to wash. One of them is an amazing red and white striped one which I ordered a hat to go along with.

Unfortunately I may not have got the size quite right!

Mr Click was playing at church and since I'm able to go for long spells without throwing up now, I headed along too.

And warning, because this next bit is a little squicky.

When I went to the loo while we were there I noticed I had a little pink-coloured discharge. It wasn't a massive amount and there was no more when I checked later but I still gave the midwife a quick ring to make sure all was okay.

And it turns out that it's highly likely that it was a little show. Basically my body is getting ready to have a baby so delightful things are happening in the cervix region. I've not had anymore stuff since then but it did prompt us to head home and make sure that the hospital bag was well and truly ready, just in case.

My first official day off work! I planned to take it very easy.

Instead I got a call first thing to let me know that Friday's blood test results had come back and my iron levels were a little low. I would have to pick up a prescription from the Health Centre after 3pm and start the tablets straight away.

We had to head up to the Health Centre for something else so while we were there we asked about the prescription but as it wasn't ready yet they promised to call when it could be collected. So we waited, and waited, and waited.

Eventually after 3pm I called only to be told it had been sent down to the chemist that morning. Luckily I was able to get them picked up, rather than having to wait til the following day like normal.

I can't say I'm a fan, but I'm definitely not feeling as tired as I was before I started on them.

I had a day at home by myself. A very snowy day at home by myself. I did have a visitor in the form of the plumber but other than that it was a day spent washing up (and having a massive allergic reaction to Persil washing up liquid), general housework and nesting.

It was even snowier and we had to head to the mainland for a consultant appointment and growth scan.

Right before we went in for the scan Baby Bo was having a great wiggle and hiccups. In the scan he was measuring well on track (I think his head looks massive!), his abdomen was fine, his legs are still a good length, the fluid level was good, the blood flow through the cord seemed okay but the sonographer kept going back over his heart.

Then she said she had to go and get the doctor to check something. This was worrying and my heart sank as I started running through all the things that could be wrong, imagining having to be rushed off to Paisley or something.

It turns out that his heartbeat was looking a little irregular, but it was likely to have been from his activity levels and hiccups before we went in. He was also practicing his breathing so he was moving which made his heart tricky to measure on the scan.

It did buy us an hour's monitoring in Day Care:

His heart was fine but he'd worn himself out from the excitement of it all so he wasn't moving much. In the end I needed to have the registrar jiggle my belly around to wake him up. He wasn't particularly impressed with that, so then woke up and had a good squirm. All was fine and we were good to go.

The registrar arranged for me to go back in another couple of weeks for a sweep. She said we'd then be able to talk about my induction then. I mentioned that I'd hoped we'd get a date a little sooner and she asked if I meant sooner than 39 weeks. I think at that point I'd asked for induction at 38 weeks I might have got it.

Instead she went away and arranged for my induction on the 4th of February. So the wee man has 16 days until his eviction papers will be signed! Scary stuff!

I basically spent the whole day chilling in bed. Despite my assertion that I'd get up and dressed everyday I was off work... well... I didn't.

It's been a busy week and I'm heavily pregnant. I think I can be excused one day of leisure.

Really need to get on with organising my hospital bags for the induction now though!

I'm having a baby in a little over two weeks!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

36 Weeks Pregnant

I'm writing this, sitting in bed, chilling and watching the first episode of Minder (Mr Click's latest choice for Saturday morning viewing). Yesterday was my last day at work before Baby Bo is born.

It was also the day I hit 36 weeks and had another midwife appointment. All in all it was a pretty busy day.

And I did it looking like this:

It's funny looking at this photo because I'm not sure I actually feel as big as I look. I keep catching sight of myself in mirrors and windows and doing a doubletake because surely that's not me.

The midwife appointment went well. Despite the massive bump, Baby Bo is measuring smack bang on the average line for growth. My belly measurement was 34 weeks which is consistent with where I measured at my 28 week appointment. I'm curious to see where his actual measurements at next week's scan put him.

And he's definitely getting ready for the off.

Last week I said I thought he was starting to drop. This week I know he definitely is, though he's still able to get those long legs all up in my ribcage.

His head is down in my pelvis and he's still in his comfy spot along the right hand side of my bump, bum up on the right, feet off to the left (sometimes he stretches them out the side and sometimes tucks them up under my ribs). I thought I heard the midwife say this was an LOA presentation but on reading up online it's actually ROA which isn't a bad spot for him to be in, except there's a risk of him rotating clockwise and going back-to-back during labour.

We chatted a little more about my birth plan, then about recognising the signs of post-natal depression and things you can do to help, and then a little about breastfeeding. It turns out that we can borrow a breast pump from the local midwives which is fantastic news and something I may well take them up on should the need arise.

Then it was back to work for the rest of my last day.

As far as last days could go, it went well. I was worried someone would get it into their head to make a big fuss and I really didn't want that. I did have a fairly steady stream of people coming through to wish me good luck and give me hugs which was nice.

It felt a little surreal walking out the door at the end of the day, knowing that was me done. I mean, I'll be popping back in during the next few months and I've left the two teams I'm involved with my contact details in case I'm needed urgently for anything, but otherwise I'm focusing on my new job as Bo's Mummy.

At the same time, walking out the door sort of felt like walking out the door on any other Friday. I still feel like I'll be walking back in again on Monday (which given my baby brain is actually a definite possibility, I did inadvertently steal someone's lunchbox on Thursday night when I took it home thinking it was mine).

I shouldn't be back on Monday though. I've got a week's holiday booked, and it's a pretty action packed week as well, what with a plumber visit, a hospital visit and a lunch date planned. And then I'm officially starting my maternity leave.

I still can't quite believe it. I waited eight years for the chance to go on maternity leave. I stuck with the job through some pretty tough times for the guarantee of that maternity leave. And now it's finally happening.

It still doesn't really feel real!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

35 Weeks Pregnant

And only one week left to go at work now! Yikes! I don't think I ever fully realised how scary that thought is before it got so close.

To put this into perspective, I started school at the age of four and a half and was in continuous education until I was twenty-three. From there I took over running the family business until a brief month long period of unemployment at the age of twenty-five when I got my job at my current place of work and I've been there ever since, celebrating six years service in August. I'm sort of institutionalised!

Technically my maternity leave doesn't actually start until I'm 37 weeks 3 days. I'm taking a week's holiday first and I'm both looking forward to it and feeling kind of nervous as well.

On the one hand, I'm really looking forward to having a little more flexibility to my days (at least until Baby Bo shows up). Sleeping is not one of my strong points at the moment and I've never napped so much in my life, which obviously isn't really an option when you're spending most of your day at a desk (despite my team leader's insistence that I go lie down in the Quiet Room if I need it).

The alarm goes off at 7am right now and we leave the house at 8.30am. And we're lucky that it's only about ten minutes commute to work. Most days I drag myself out of bed somewhere between 7.45 and 8am. After a full day at work I try to potter at much as I can when I get in because the minute I stop, I'm done for the day. There have been several occasions when Mr Click has sent me to bed at 5.30pm and that's where I've stayed (except for loo breaks) until the alarm the next morning.

Over the Christmas and New Year period I was asking at 7am for my tablet, snoozing til 9am while Mr Click took care of Tara and other stuff, then getting up for breakfast. I'd often have a nap after lunch as well. It's amazing how much of a difference those naps make to my energy levels!

People at work keep telling me I look tired and to be honest, I'm kind of used to that tired feeling so I didn't notice it too much, until going back to work after that break.

And I can see it in my bump photos for the last couple of weeks too. My eyes look tired and I understand why Mr Click keeps sending me to bed.

I'm not sure it really shows in these two photos but I think Baby Bo might be heading south ready for his exit at some point in the next 34(!) days.

A couple of people have commented on the fact that the bump has changed shape this week.

I think that might be partly my fault. On Wednesday I had the worst backache all day. I think Bo had moved and was stretching or pressing something. Mr Click insisted on running me a bath when I got in and it made a world of difference.

I ended up lying slightly towards my left hand side and when I came to get out my bump, looking down from above, looked like a lopsided 'n'. Bo had wriggled down into the bit which was under water.

It took a lot of prodding to get him back into a more comfortable position.

I've actually had a bath today and he must have remembered Wednesday night's bath because the minute I got in, he wriggled over to the left again! So I lay towards the right to keep him on his toes!

He's alternating super active days with quieter ones at the moment. When I say quieter day, I'm not talking no movement, he follows his usual pattern but is just more relaxed. Then the next day, like last night, he'll have a full on workout. Last night something that was either an elbow or a knee kept trying to poke through my belly button. Now, that's an odd sensation!

I've got a feeling that this coming week is going to be a strange one. It's a little weird to think that everyone else is going to carry on being at work, doing work stuff and I won't be there and involved. I'm hoping to make full use of my 'keeping in touch' days because I took on an extra role at work last year and I want to stay in the loop.

And of course I'll be back to visit everyone with an adorable baby in the next couple of months.

I'll let you know how this coming week turns out!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Body Positivity and Pregnancy

Warning: this post includes a photo of me in my underwear. Just as a heads up.

I, like many women I suspect, have often struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. I was a little bit worried about how I'd feel during pregnancy as a little being took over my body and made it go through all sorts of weird and wonderful changes.

I worried even more when in the throes of liver failure inducing hyperemesis because clearly that was yet another sign that my body wasn't up to the task I was asking of it. Just like it had let me down when I wanted it to get pregnant in the first place and when it had decided that five foot two and a half inches was a perfectly respectable height for me and so we were done with that pesky growing business.

I can remember writing in my diary as puberty hit, feeling utterly confused by the way my body was developing. Boobs seemed to creep up on me gradually, while hips appeared almost overnight (leaving me with some nice attractive stretchmarks which seemed to take years to fade from angry purple-red to the creamy colour they are today). All the books seemed to talk about how your body would change but mine, like everyone else, followed its own schedule and I'm not sure I was too happy about the reminders I was growing up. I've never really been that good at accepting change.

As teens and young women do, I compared my body to those I saw around me; actresses, singers, models, adverts. Even though I wasn't into fashion as such, I was aware that their body types were rarely an example of my body type. And I just wasn't into hair and make up and clothes the way many of my peers were, I just wanted to be comfortable, which for me meant keeping as much flesh as covered as possible.

And those hip stretchmarks bothered me more than I really realised at the time. There are probably zero photos of me wearing a swimsuit, though I did go swimming, even out at the beaches on the island (those of us raised in Scotland think little of putting on a swimsuit and jumping in the sea during almost 20 degree weather, it's summer damnit!) but I'd often wear boys' swim shorts over the top of my swimsuit, the better to cover up those chubby little thighs.

In my mid- to late-twenties, I gained a little more confidence. I started wearing dresses and feeling happier with the way I looked. Sure my bum could be smaller and my legs more shapely, but my nose is cute and I've got a pretty awesome chest in the right bra!

Surprisingly, this coincides with our fertility treatment. Once you start regularly undressing from the waist down and exposing yourself in front of a myriad of medical professionals, suddenly a bit of thigh flab doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

My journey to get pregnant has obviously shaped how I view my pregnancy with Baby Bo. After so long of thinking it would never happen, perhaps I see these changes in my body as just a little more miraculous than some mums-to-be might. I can't help but be amazed at the changing shape of my belly (even if the appearance of my belly button grosses me out more than I'd care to admit).

My breasts are doing weird and wonderful things, like changing colour and trying to leak a sticky sort of gel, but I'm cool with that, they're getting ready to feed my son. I could do without the constant up and down size changes as it's going to cost me a small fortune in bras at this rate. But I can feel happy about these changes, they don't seem to bother me as they might have in the past. Because it's all happening for a very good reason.

Roughly a month ago I took a shower at my in-laws' house where they have a big mirror in the bathroom and as I stood staring at my new body I couldn't help but feel proud of myself. So I did the natural thing and snapped a photo.

This is probably the most flesh I've shown in public (albeit virtually) since I was about ten!

I'm all pink and scrubbed from the shower. My hair is wet and unbrushed. My bra and pants don't actually match (but you weren't looking that closely, were you?)

And I feel absolutely gorgeous.

My body might have failed at being sporty, at allowing me to reach stuff on the top shelf in the kitchen, and actually getting pregnant without lots of physical, emotional and financial effort. But you know what? It's really got a handle on this baby growing business, and I've never felt so good about it before.

And as for the future?

I'm aware that in the next two months it's going to change again. My belly will go from being round and firm to soft, flabby and empty. My boobs will almost certainly have another growth spurt. I'll probably have stretchmarks, possibly new scars, and I'll be learning how to provide for a new little person myself rather than letting my perfectly capable body handle all the important stuff.

But I'm hoping I can see those upcoming changes as badges of honour, proof that together we did this, my body and I.

And hopefully I'll be able to continue to look in the mirror and feel fabulous.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Hope you're all recovering from last night and are ready to face whatever 2018 decides to throw at us.

Amazingly, I stayed up for the bells, without even having an afternoon nap. I have gone on to sleep almost right through the night and only really woke up when Mr Click brought me my breakfast at 9am, and if you put me back to bed right now I'd probably sleep another good couple of hours.

Bo is obviously confused by my strange waking habits. I got a few good rib kicks at about 6am when he was clearly baffled by my return to bed after a loo trip, but barely a peep out of him since, aside from some little bum wiggles. He's only a very little guy and the excitement of his being in 2018 is a little too much for him.

I can't help but think back to this time last year. I got my period and so began frantically calling the hospital to get started on our final round of IVF. At the time we weren't openly calling it our final round, but we both kind of knew it was. It was our last NHS go and while there was the option of going private again, we had bought a new car so there wasn't really the prospect of paying privately until we'd finished paying for the car, and that wasn't likely to be for a couple of years.

We didn't really discuss it, but had last year's cycle not worked, we'd have had to make a really big decision about whether to throw more money at more treatment, or whether to accept the hand we were being dealt and try to move on workout any more IVF.

I'm so glad we've not got to make that decision. Ultimately we'll have to decide about using our frozen embryos (at £1000 plus meds per shot, so somewhere in the region of £2000+) and those little guys need to start paying rent this year (£250 per year storage costs) but at least for 2018 we have someone else to focus on, and aside from the storage bill, those things will be put off until 2019 at the earliest.

2018 is the year of Baby Bo.

Last year I kind of fell off the bullet journal wagon, thanks mostly to pregnancy exhaustion and then hyperemesis. But I'm picking it back up again now in the hopes of getting well organised for the baby coming.

Last year's word of the year was SUCCEED and my first three points on the list were:

  • Successful IVF/ICSI
  • Healthy baby in 2017
  • Frozen embryos for the future
There were other items on the list, many of which I've failed at (knitting, writing and Welsh spring to mind), but those three were the most important points.

And I think I did succeed. I mean, okay, so Bo wasn't actually born in 2017 (thanks to his short stint in stasis), but he's been healthy for the duration of the year, so I think that counts for something.

Having a word of the year helped keep me focused and positive, even when it was tough to find something to be positive about. So I've selected a new word for 2018:

I'm going with GROW this year. I actually settled on this as my focus word way back in about September or October.

And the number one point on my list? Grow into my new role as a mother.

I'll let you know how that goes.