7 Month Miracle

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I apologise for having disappeared in the last few weeks. We went on a lovely family holiday to Miami and just enjoyed spending time in the sunshine with our little miracle. The munchkin is over 7 months now. Totally mad how the time has flown. How did that happen? I usually refrain from writing about my little boy as I would hate for it to come across as smug and bragging when so many of my readers are desperate to have a baby. However I also hope that it may be encouraging to hear that IVF can and does work. The first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was conceived in a dish at a Cambridgeshire fertility clinic 37 years ago and five million babies around the world have been born through IVF since. Don’t lose faith. Lots has been going on in the IVF world lately – you can find out the latest here in the next few weeks. And, as always, GOOD LUCK.

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Three Visits

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We have just returned from our first family holiday to Israel. As we walked down the beach with our baby in his pram I couldn’t help thinking back to the last two visits I made to Israel.

The previous one was in October, I was 20 weeks pregnant and while I was incredibly grateful to be pregnant I was also extremely anxious about the outcome of my pregnancy. As I looked out across the sea I thought to myself ‘I hope I have a baby on my next visit’.

The trip prior to that was last March two weeks after the loss of our baby and it was a bleak and miserable time. I was unsure what the future held, when I may be pregnant again and how I would cope with the heartbreaking loss.

What struck me was how different life was on each of the three visits and how quickly and dramatically things can change. You may feel like things are not progressing on your journey to parenthood, or you may have had a loss that seems crippling. This time next year things may be very different.

Eat, Read, Sleep

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I have just returned from a lovely week of doing absolutely nothing! Nilch. Nada.

We disappeared to Cyprus for a week where we stayed at a lovely hotel and basically did sweet FA. Long breakfasts, reading in the sunshine, more eating, afternoon naps, spa treatments and a lot of Jack Bauer! It was exactly what we needed and certainly the most relaxed I have felt throughout the pregnancy.

Tomorrow we are at 30 weeks, and boy am I growing big! My tummy has really popped. With it comes some discomfort, however I just remind myself how lucky I am to be in this position at all. My husband bears the brunt of any complaints and has been generously providing back rubs.

So it’s back to work today and that well and truly ends the blissful relaxation. Back to reality.

Shame On You Ireland

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Yesterday I was reading a chain of messages on Mumsnet offering support to a heartbroken woman who had recently had devastating news at her 12 week scan regarding the health of her unborn baby. One message was from an Irish woman who had been in the same horrible situation and had made the unbearable decision to terminate the pregnancy. However due to the fact that abortion is illegal in Ireland she had to join the thousands of Irish women who travel to the UK every year for an abortion. It really struck a chord with me. Having been there, and having made that awful decision, I know this is not a choice anyone desperate for a child takes lightly. It is a traumatic experience. Despite anyone’s moral and religious view on abortion it is important to note the vast difference that exists between carelessly using abortion as birth control, to terminating a much wanted pregnancy due to fatal fetal abnormalities. In the case of the latter it is utterly appalling that women, in their greatest time of need, must flee their country and feel like criminals. The law needs to change. When a woman is given the distressing news that her baby will not survive outside the womb, if she chooses not to continue with her pregnancy, she needs to be looked after in Ireland. Shame on you Ireland. Support women’s choices and their right to be treated compassionately during their darkest hour.

Home Again

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Sadly we are home now from our holiday. We had a gorgeous week in Israel and it was wonderful to spend time with my family and husband. It seems so strange to think that the last visit to Israel, 2 weeks after our termination for medical reasons, was during such a dark and depressing time. For this visit we were in a different, hopeful and positive place. So much can change in 8 months.

We walked along the same beach we always do and silently hoped that our next visit would be with a little one in tow.

The baby is increasingly active and I love the movements I can feel. Hopefully soon my husband will get to feel them too. Every night I place his hand on my tummy convinced he will feel the kicks. I can’t wait for him to enjoy it too.

Get Some Headspace

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Over the last few months my husband and I have been embracing our inner hippy by using a series of meditation and mindfulness podcasts to reduce stress. Like anything else it is a skill that needs learning. The series of short exercises, initially just 10 minutes a day, from Headspace shows you how you can  master this invaluable skill. Andy Puddicombe, with his reassuing and calming voice, teaches you useful techniques that have assisted the management of our worries and anxiety during the IVF process. Many times I have fallen asleep mid-podcast, that’s just how calming it is! It leads to some much needed peace of mind and well-being.

Check it out at http://www.headspace.com

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How Puzzling

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My lovely friend received a 2,000 piece puzzle for her birthday. On one of my many visits to her home I got involved. It was a great distraction and before we knew it we 3 hours had passed. Over the weeks we did more and more of it and it was a great focus while we chatted about everything and nothing. I was hooked!

I did a bit of googling and found studies that suggest that jigsaw puzzles can actually lead to a longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, and reduce our chances of developing certain types of mental illness by an amazing third. Apparently it is due to the simultaneous use of both sides of the brain. In addition, completing a puzzle, or even just the successful placement of one piece, encourages the production of dopamine. Jigsaw puzzles are a unique activity that allows us to achieve a state of creative meditation, while imparting a sense of accomplishment.

You’ll find me in the toy store.

Best Friends and Colouring Books

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My best friend is amazing. Fact. For the last 4 months she has been endlessly loyal and supportive. It made the world of difference.

Today she continued her kindness by sending me this gift. A colouring book!

Supposedly colouring is a stress buster.  I love it. Art, drawing and painting have always been relaxing and therapeutic to me.

Best go sharpen my pencils!

Escape and Breathe

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During our 4 month wait we had to escape. Planning trips was helpful as they served as little landmarks to look forward to (along with periods and ovulation) as we waited for the time when we could try to conceive again. It was beneficial to have a change of scenery when it all got too much, which it regularly did.

Our first trip was 2 weeks after the termination. We went to my parents home in Israel and it was a trip filled with sadness and a lot of tears. But it was healing in many ways to get away.

Next, we went away for my husband’s 30th. I had arranged it long before everything happened. Despite my fragility I felt that after a really rough ordeal he deserved to have some happy times to enjoy. There were less tears.

Finally we went away for a few days just because. Time was moving so agonisingly slow and it seemed a holiday could speed things up. There were even fewer tears. They say time heals. It does. And so does a sunny escape.