Would You EVER…

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… Announce Your Pregnancy On Social Media?

This week in Grazia (yep I read very high-brow publications) I saw that in a poll they took 31% of people voted that yes they would announce their pregnancies on social media, leaving 69% in agreement with me and voting no. During this pregnancy I have been extremely protective of sharing our news, but even last time I never would have made such a personal announcement on social media. I would far rather share it in person with my close friends and family. I actually have spent the last 3 months deleting the random people who have made their way onto my facebook with whom I have no contact and, if I’m honest, no interest in. Lately I’ve felt that social media can become a boasting platform and when I know how painful infertility or pregnancy loss can be, I would hate to be rubbing it in anyones face. What do you think about social media announcements? Is your life an open book?

Sharing The News

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We’ve decided, at 15 weeks, to start sharing our news. I’ve been incredibly reluctant to tell anybody that we are expecting a baby because I don’t think I am actually EXPECTING it to happen. I can’t let myself believe it because I feel to let my guard down will open me up to the possibility of hurt when it does go wrong again. As my stomach swells it is becoming more obvious and soon everybody will be aware but I just feel very protective of our secret and keen to keep it between my husband and I. Telling people makes it scarily real. There will be no announcement or phone calls but we will mention it to our friends when we see them and tell them not to make a big deal of it. Scary stuff.

New Year, New Beginning

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Tonight is the start of a new year for me as it is Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year. It is a time for family, honey cake and hope for the year ahead. As I stand in synagogue I will pray for happier times in the forthcoming year. Each year we ask to be inscribed in the book of life for a good and sweet new year. I hope our prayers are answered and we will be blessed with a healthy baby. My faith has been tested more this year than ever before and I hope it will be renewed in the year ahead. Happy New Year to you if you are celebrating, and happy new beginning to you if you are just in need of a fresh start.

De-stress

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20 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Ease Stress

The road to motherhood can be unbelievably stressful. With that in mind, here are 20 ways, backed up by good scientific evidence, to keep your stress in check:

1. Go For A 10 Minute Walk

While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, green spaces, can put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.

2. Breathe Deeply

Any yogi knows that the breath — known as pranayama or “life force” — plays an important role in nourishing the body. Breathing exercises – or even just taking a few deep breaths – can help reduce tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen.

3. Visualize

Simply make yourself comfortable and then try to picture a relaxing scene.

4. Eat A Snack

Stress-eating doesn’t have to be bad. Pick a snack that will fill you up — say, half an avocado, a handful of nuts or a hard boiled egg — because nothing is more stressful to the brain than feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation.

5. Buy Yourself A Plant

Houseplants can actually help you calm down. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relaxation response.

6. Step Away From The Screen

Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, lost sleep and depression in women. Make sure to take frequent breaks during your day of computer use — and try to shut offline at least an hour before bedtime.

7. Pucker Up

Kissing relieves stress by helping your brain to release endorphins.

8. Try This Naam Yoga Hand Trick

Applying pressure to the space between your second and third knuckle (the joints at the base of your pointer and middle fingers) can help to create a sense of instant calm.

9. Hang Up, Then Turn Off Your Phone

Mobile phones stress you out. Talking can even raise your blood pressure.

10. Put On Some Music

While classical music has a particularly soothing effect — it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones — any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.

11. Treat Yourself!

Eating or drinking something sweet is soothing because it stems the production of the stress hormone, glucocorticoid.

12. Or, On The Other Hand, Plug In

Yes, screens can stress you out. But used in the right way, there’s no reason you can’t turn to the Internet to get a little stress relief such as web-based stress management programs.

13. Chew A Piece Of Gum

Chewing gum doesn’t just make your breath better — it can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress during episodes of multitasking.

14. Watch A Viral Video

A good laugh is a fine relaxation technique. What’s more, even if you don’t find the viral video your uncle Joe sent you to be that funny, just the anticipation that it might be will actually boost endorphins.

15. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Start with your toes and work your way up: tighten your foot muscles as much as you can, then relax them. Make your way up, tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve finished with your face. It may seem silly, but this practice can help reduce anxiety and stress.

16. Seriously, Turn Off Your Phone

Smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress, as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.

17. See Your BFF

Friends aren’t just fun — your very closest ones can actually reduce your production of cortisol.

18. Eat A Banana (Or A Potato!)

Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which rises during times of stress.

19. Try Eagle Pose

Many yoga poses are known stress relievers, as they open the shoulders, relieve neck tension and do away with many of the physical symptoms of stress. Eagle pose is a prime example of how a brief asana can target back and neck tension. Learn how to do the pose here.

20. Craft

Repetitive motions — like the fine motor skills used to knit– can soothe anxiety.

Try one today!

NHS Say No To Desperate Couples

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The reduction in IVF funding means that couples across the UK are no longer eligible for fertility treatment. One women wrote in Saturday’s Guardian that she was dismissed because her husband has children from a previous marriage. His children do not live with them, or even in the country. This does seem painfully unfair. Surely she deserves help for the medical problem she has. She rightly points out that in the area in which she lives more funding is spent on obesity and drug and alcohol addiction than on fertility treatment.

Now I hate to criticise the NHS as the care I received at UCH for the traumatic delivery of the baby we lost was fantastic. Furthermore the current maternity care I have received has been impossible to fault. However as someone who has been through IVF I cannot imagine the stress of being denied access to treatment. Infertility is painfully lonely and frustrating. Unless you have been there you cannot understand the desperate desire to have a baby and the emptiness felt when it seems impossible. So now as well as feelings of guilt, hopelessness, jealousy and inadequacy those with fertility issues have, they must now add anger at the changes into the mix.

Fertility MoT

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According to yesterday’s press busy city workers are to be offered £200 fertility ‘MoTs’ during their lunch breaks. The one-hour test will assess women using 3D ultrasounds and blood tests, while men will be offered a detailed analysis of their semen for £90. Up to 4,000 IVF cycles will also be offered each year by the Create Fertility centre, which opens in London later this month. Professor Geeta Nargund, who founded the Create Fertility centre said: ‘A woman’s fertility potential can be assessed in an hour.’

Interestingly, Professor Nargund claims that they will not offer conventional IVF where drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries. Instead they will offer natural-cycle IVF, in which a woman’s egg is collected following her natural cycle and replaced in the uterus after fertilisation. The clinic will also offer mild-stimulation IVF, in which a lower dosage of drugs is used.  She said the treatment is safer, less expensive and is able to be repeated over subsequent cycles. Her business offers three cycles of natural-cycle IVF for £5,900, while three cycles of mild-stimulation IVF costs £6,950.

However Gedis Grudzinskas, an independent consultant gynaecologist, warned that results are much lower in natural cycles than when drugs are used.

Dare I Believe It

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On Friday we had a scan (I know, another one!) and the doctor seemed pleased with what he saw and said I could relax a little. He also said we didn’t need to return for a month. I desperately want to believe it will all be okay now but I still can’t shake off the fear that it will all get stolen away from us again. However I am going to try to be little more positive.
I’m aware that as I get bigger it becomes more obvious that I am pregnant and so we could tell people. However it really scares me to. It makes it more real to say it aloud and I haven’t really allowed myself to believe that there will be a baby. I did look at the monitor at the scan though so that’s progress!

Waiting, Wanting, Wishing

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If I could sum my year up in a few words one would certainly be ‘waiting’. When a baby is everything you want you have to keep going no matter how painful the wait it. So whatever stage and whatever route to motherhood you are on, good luck.  ❤

Itchy & Scratchy

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On Tuesday I wrote that I would not complain about anything pregnancy related and that now puts me in a difficult position! With that in mind I will say, in a manner that is informative rather than complaining, that I am so very itchy. Since I was a child I have had a mild allergy to sugar. If I eat too much natural or processed sugar my skin has breakouts of urticaria, a red blotchy rash. During my first pregnancy and up until now my pregnancy hormones have suppressed the allergy and I’ve hardly had it. Until now! Friday evening after an indulgent apple juice binge and a slab of chocolate cake my skin erupted into an angry mess. Since then any sugar I have injested has triggered a far more severe reaction than I ever used to have. So weird. Supposedly antihistamines are not advised during during pregnancy so it’s going to be a scratchy time! Has your food allergy been exacerbated during pregnancy?
Oh and The Great British Bake Off is not helping my sugar craving!

Royal Baby Number Two

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Yesterday the Duchess of Cambridge rushed out an announcement that she is pregnant again after suffering from hyperemesis gracidarum (extreme morning sickness). She is yet to reach the 12 week stage, when most couples share their pregnancy news, but since she was too ill to attend engagements they went ahead with an official announcement.
Most news stories have referred to the fact that it is considered a premature announcement and it got me thinking about when is the right time to share pregnancy news with friends and family. I am approaching 13 weeks, supposedly a safer time, but due to our previous experiences we have kept it a secret from most of our friends and family. My reason for keeping shtum is mostly to prevent the pregnancy from seeming real while I am yet to know if this baby is for keeps. We intend to announce it when we have confirmation of the baby’s health. The only problem is that my swelling stomach is making it increasingly difficult!
Some are of the belief that to share early pregnancy news is risky when the chances of a miscarriage are higher. However if one was to experience a miscarriage would it not be preferable to have the support and understanding of friends, rather than suffering in silence? Perhaps a bit of openess stops women feeling isolated. I could not have dealt with our loss alone.

When did you announce?

Appreciate It

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Obviously feeling nauseous and tired can be relatively unpleasant but everyday I feel blessed that I am in the position to moan about it. I always promised myself that I would refrain from excessive complaining as after losing our last baby all I wanted was to be pregnant again. In addition to that I am fully aware that there are so very many women out there who are struggling to get pregnant who would kill for some pregnancy discomfort. So I am basically thrilled to feel crap!