Human Pin Cushion

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So the shots are in full swing. To be honest I don’t find them too bad. Each night my husband gets the needles ready and I lie on the bed with my t-shirt held up as a sort of shield to prevent me from seeing whats happening and we get it done. Side effects? Not really. Last time I recall being far more swollen and bloated to this time. However my husband would certainly say that I have been somewhat hormonal! In my defense I have been rather distracted by the stomach bug that has terrorised our home taking down my son, husband and myself. Nursing an ill baby whilst being ill and undergoing IVF is not ideal.

On alternate days I am required to have a scan to see the changes the drugs are having on my follicles. The scans themselves are not an issue. I don’t find them too unpleasant. The tricky part is going to the scans with an 8 month old. You would think an IVF clinic, whose job is to create babies, would be more accommodating to mothers visiting with babies. The lift is at top of a flight of stairs, the doors are heavy and too narrow to wheel a pram in and they are without fail always running late. Having arranged naps and snacks around these visits it is infuriating. However this phase is almost over. The egg collection is two days away and then the next stage will be upon us.

Watch this space!

Here We Go Again!

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Never would we have imagined that the journey to motherhood was going to be so long and painful. However once we knew the challenges we faced and that we would only be able to have a child using IVF we decided that after baby number 1 was born we wouldn’t wait too long to have baby number 2.

When we decided to try for a baby the first time we were full of naive excitement and total ignorance. We never thought we would be the ones who needed fertility treatment or lost a baby. The benefit of hindsight means that we are fully aware of the potential set backs that lay ahead. We know it may take a long time and it may be a bumpy ride so why wait when we know we want another child?

While I was pregnant with our little boy we decided that as soon as there was the chance to try again we would. We would save our frozen embryo for the future and, while I was relatively young, make some more embryos. That was the plan. That seemed like the most sensible idea. Once my body had returned to normal we thought we’d get going on IVF number 2. All of that was until our little bundle of joy arrived and turned our lives spectacularly upside down! So when the opportunity to try again came while our baby was still such hard work we took one look at each other and agreed that in no way were we ready to cope with two little monsters! We were exhausted and our little baby was a complete handful. In many ways he still is!

So when asked by friends and family when we would try again we quite honestly said next year. However we now have got to the point where we feel like (relatively) confident parents who have, to some degree, begun to resume normal life. We sleep pretty well and are enjoying our son so much that we now feel that its time to do it all over again! Are we mad?

Despite the craziness of our lives now, the stress of pregnancy and the ordeal of trying to conceive, absolutely nothing is better than the love I have for my son. I would feel so blessed to have another little one to join our family. Last time we shared it all with our close family and friends. We needed the support as we blindly went through IVF. This time we know what lies ahead, so unbeknownst to all our friends and family we have began the process! Today is day 4 of my shots and next week may be the egg collection. It’s mad. Totally mad and completely exciting!

31… eek!

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Today is my birthday! I feel very blessed to be spending it with my gorgeous little baby boy. A year ago I had just found out I was pregnant which certainly softened the blow of leaving my 20s behind and turning the dreaded 30. Despite my joy that the IVF had been successful I still never allowed myself to entertain the idea of actually having a baby a year later. It was just too hard to imagine after the ordeal we had faced.

So the fact that a year has passed and the stressful pregnancy has resulted in a beautiful baby is a dream come true. I feel so grateful that my prayers and wishes were answered.

I have more to be grateful for too. Firstly I have made amends and rebuilt my relationship with a very old and special friend whom I had fallen out with and secondly my lovely mummy has been given a clean bill of health. So this year as I celebrate with my husband by my side and my baby in my arms I will feel so contented and at peace.

No Laughing Matter

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Last week I happened to catch an interview on This Morning with TV presenter Julia Bradbury. She talked about her grueling IVF experience which happily resulted in the birth of her twins. She discussed the disappointment and failures she experienced during the five cycles she undertook and the added obstacle of her age (44).

Most fascinating was her reference to an Israeli study about the importance of remaining positive during embryo transfer. The research found that women who were made to laugh during IVF by bringing clowns into the surgery were statistically more likely to conceive than those who weren’t entertained.

This is not the first I have heard of this. My husband excitedly regaled this to me following our embryo transfer, during which, for reasons unknown to me, I got the giggles. Proper tear inducing giggles. I was laughing so much my husband had to turn away from me in an effort to stop the laughter. Perhaps it was nerves, or embarrassment at having my legs wide open, but that laughter clearly didn’t hurt as the outcome was a positive pregnancy. So have some jokes at the ready!

Always Our Baby

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It has been 1 year since we lost our precious first baby. Bizarrely it feels like it was a long time ago and yesterday all at the same time. The traumatic experience of terminating the pregnancy (for medical reasons at 21 weeks) and the sadness that filled our lives was so heartbreaking that I cannot believe we survived it.

However a year on we are different people. We still carry the pain but it is not raw and crushing like it was. We still talk about what happened and we still are in disbelief about what we and our baby went through.

A year on and our life is different too. We are two weeks from expecting another baby. The experience of losing our first baby has made pregnancy a difficult time. But the hope of a new baby has helped us heal and restored our faith. This baby will never replace the baby we lost and there will always be a profound sense of loss for what could have been.

So today, like everyday, we think of you and the love that will always exist between us.

Yikes

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It’s all a bit mad. The wallpaper is up. The baby stuff has arrived. The antenatal class has been done. Now we wait, hope and pray we are blessed with a baby.

On Sunday we attended an antenatal class at the hospital where we received lots of useful information to help us prepare for the labour and the first few days of the baby’s life. My husband went a little white when shown some of the images of placentas. Most notably, the midwife said that since this is not my first labour it should be quicker. Second and subsequent labours tend to be much quicker because the cervix tends to dilate more quickly than it did the first time. She also believes that it is typical that first babies arrive late, but that since this is my second it is more likely to be on time or early. Hopefully this little one will come soon! Not this weekend though, as my husband is on a stag weekend (eek!). Furthermore the fact that this labour is only one year since the previous one should mean that my body remembers how to prepare for labour. Silver lining I guess.

Unlike most I am actually excited about the labour. When it finally happens I am sure I will be a little anxious but I don’t feel scared. It cannot be worse than last time. Maybe I used up all my anxiety during pregnancy so none is left for labour! I don’t want to sound ungrateful to anyone desperate to be pregnant but given what has happened I am ready for pregnancy to end and motherhood to begin. Until then I won’t feel like we are out of the danger zone.

Scans Glorious Scans

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So I caved again. I decided that the wait for the final scan (scheduled for 37 weeks) was too far off and I needed some reassurance that the baby was well. So yet more money was spent on yet another neurotic moment. However, as I told my husband, surely my peace of mind is priceless. Aptly named the reassurance scan, it did just that. Thankfully all is well and my fear that the placenta had been failing or was detaching from my uterus lining were unfounded. The little one looked well, has hair and is in the head down position ready for action. Now I must just plough on through the remaining 6 weeks. Not long now…When will I actually believe that there might be a baby?

Time For Action

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I am reluctant to accept that a baby is coming. I just won’t believe it until I have a healthy baby safe in my arms. Recently people have kindly urged me to pull myself out of my denial for a moment and order some baby stuff. I always said I wouldn’t order a thing prior to the babies arrival but in a moment of insanity/sanity my husband and I went out and ordered everything! Cots, prams, baths, car seats and so much more. None of it arrives until week 36 weeks so I don’t need to deal with a flat full of stuff for 3 more weeks. However next weekend my husband is going to wallpaper the nursery. The whole thing is pretty terrifying.

It just feels as though I will soon wake from this dream and there will be nothing. No baby. Just a fantasy I indulged in.

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.

Inspire Others

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Couples tend to be secretive about their fertility issues. Understandably there is a need to preserve some privacy over what is a personal, intimate area of a couples lives. However I implore you to shake off feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment. It is not your fault your body doesn’t function how you want, in the same way it is not your fault if you are short-sighted. Instead you should be proud of the strength you have shown to overcome your challenges and persist in your efforts to make your dream of a family come true.

I have been amazed and inspired by the spirit and determination shown by couples who, like us, have battled infertility. I have been touched by their compassion and support. If we are lucky enough to be blessed with the baby which is currently growing in my tummy, I will be proud to have an IVF baby.

IVF Chances

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Amazingly, five million babies have been born worldwide since 1978 thanks to IVF. Recently, however, the press has put a spot light on the couples for whom the treatment doesn’t work. The statistics below demonstrate how low the odds of successful treatment are. While it must be utterly heartbreaking for couples who never have a successful pregnancy the press seems quite naive to think that couples who embark on IVF don’t know the odds of success. By the time they reach the decision of going down this route, they already know their chances are low. My husband and I certainly did. However, for many, it is a case of not looking back in the future and saying that we wished we had tried. We know it’s an expensive, emotional roller-coaster but it it is, in my opinion, a gamble worth taking.

Chance of an IVF baby

Age Success rate
SOURCE: HFEA
Under 35 32.2%
35-37 27.7%
38-39 20.8%
40-42 13.6%
43-44 5.0%
45 and over 1.9%

Paranoia of the Moment

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The relative calm following the scan has invariably dissipated and my new anxiety centres on my sleeping habits. I know I sound totally mad but I have read and been told that it is not advisable to sleep on your back, my sleeping position of choice. Experts recommend that pregnant women not sleep on their backs during the second and third trimester because of the weight of the growing uterus and baby pressing the vena cava, the main vein that carries blood back to the heart from your lower body region. If compressed, it can interfere with optimum circulation. Instead it is advisable to lie on your side.

So this week I have tried to train myself to sleep on my side. Easier said than done! Despite building a fort out of pillows that encourage me to sleep on my side, and which have left my husband with a very small patch of bed space, I have woken up in the night on numerous occasions to find that I have made my way onto my back again. Then, in a panic, I have tried to reposition myself. This has lead to some very disturbed sleeping patterns.
How can I change my well established sleeping position? How on earth does anyone sleep on their side? It’s so uncomfortable! Did you change your sleeping position? Or, as I fear, am I bonkers?