What on earth is that?

So I’m determined to think and write about the funny things I’ve experienced in pregnancy so far. I know 15 weeks in I have much more to come but here’s just a few for starters. I am starting to feel more like myself and being able to find humour in things again, so here’s my list…

(Quick heads up some of these may be a bit nsfw)

1. Oh what the hell is this bloody itch?!

Itching PowderSeriously, itchy doesn’t cover it. If someone offered to turn my office chair into a cheese grater I’d take them up on it, purely so I could scratch scratch scratch. I’d sort of read about this on the apps and in the books but they did not prepare you for the reality of sitting in a traffic jam trying to itch your backside on your seat. There have been mornings where I’ve seriously considered that my husband may have put itching powder in my clothes, to the point I’ve gotten irrationally angry and searched his bedside drawers to make sure there was none hidden. Although the highlight has to be slathering my entire body in cream and standing butt naked, legs akimbo, elbows high and holding my boobs up (no one wants boob sweat mixed with body lotion). As ridiculous as I felt, oh god the relief was indescribable.

I’d like to make a quick note here that extreme itchiness is a sign of some nasty stuff in pregnancy so if you at all relate make sure you mention it to your midwife.

2. Whose boobs are these and why are they stabbing me?

Being a bigger boobed gal, with a family history of cancer, I have become very well acquainted with my boobs over the years. Thanks in equal measure to many occurrences of standing in front of mirrors and trying to self-measure for bras as well as regular checks for lumps. That is why I can safely say, these are not my breasts. Nope. They were one of the first things I noticed a change in, not only did they start to get bigger but they changed shape! Like seriously dudes I’m 27 don’t start going all weird on me now! I thought we were friends. So now my favouritist comfy bras no longer fit as well as they used to, plus those fuckers are expensive and I challenge you to find a pretty 36GG sized nursing/maternity bra. So for now I’m suffering along with sort of comfy bras.

As well as a new shape and size my nipples are a thing to behold. I was always quite proud of my nipples, bizarre I know,  but they were a good size and a pleasant pink – not any more. They have ballooned, ballooned I tell you! Not only the areaolas have gotten bigger,  but the actual nipple itself – to the point that I am wondering if I do decide to breast feed how these things will fit into a baby’s mouth. It gets worse, the colour! I distinctly remember ringing my best friend and screaming down the phone “why the fuck are they fucking brown?!” My best friend being childless was completely nonplussed and freaked out just as much as I was. Apparently this is normal,  but I am not a fan.

But, aha, that is not all! The pain! There is the stretchy, full pain, the stabby someone’s just poked you with a hot poker pain and my personal favourite the just-been-tasered pain. Now I know pain is normal, but again why does it strike at the most ridiculous times? Driving on the motorway, in meetings with students and their parents at work, in a room surrounded by only men. You get the gist. But I defy you to not flinch or react or suppress the urge to grab your boobs and swear.

3. Gas, gas and more gas

Now I’ve had IBS for around a decade and thought there was little more my Fartnot so little backside and its accompanying organs could do to surprise me. Oh boy was I wrong. Gas is a thing of insanity, it has literally had me crying from laughter at the noises coming out of my backside all the way to crying in agony clutching a hot water bottle from the completely ridiculous amounts of pain. I don’t know how anyone could have prepared me for it, but I wish they had tried. Somehow the baby books just can’t convey that feeling of I’m about to explode, like literally my chest and stomach are about to explode like something out of one of the alien films. It has been horrible and I will never again say to someone, “why not just force a fart, I mean surely it can’t be that bad”. I apologise for my previous utter stupidity.

4. Where do you think you’re going?

Bone movement! That one I was definitely not ready for. My pelvis slowly turning was one of my first symptoms, I literally felt like a very slow pin up girl rotating my hips towards the adoring crowds of sailors. Very odd but not too painful thankfully, right now I’m praying it stays like that and the dreaded SPD stays away. But, ladies and gents, we come to the one thing I have not shut up about – my ribs! What the actual fuck? Why have they moved? I am not happy with that! My lower ribs have literally moved apart, by quite a significant amount. My clothes sit funny now, my waist shape has changed – with no bump to blame – when I rest my hands on my chest it feels like someone else’s body. And let me tell you, that process hurt like holy hell and resulted in a snot and tear filled 3am phone call to my mum to find out if this is normal. It is apparently.

5. Going to the toilet will never be the same 

Now this one isn’t totally restricted to pregnancy, it’s been a factor since we started trying, but I’d hoped it wouldn’t carry on once I got that second blue line. I have not been able to go to the toilet and wipe without then double checking the tissue. And by check I of course mean have a good old inspection like some creepy scientist. I know I know it’s totally disgusting and I wash my hands really thoroughly but I can’t help myself. Apparently this is not uncommon, but I can’t quite figure out if it’s driven by fear and worry or something else – either way I hope the compulsion goes away soon!

And on that delightful and pleasant note I’m going to leave it here for today! If you’ve got any symptoms you fancy sharing I would love to hear them.

Lucy At Home
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What’s happened to me?

I’ve been trying to write a post for over a week now. Having loads of ideas about the books I’ve been reading, the funny things that no one tells you about pregnancy, doing my best not to have a massive political rant etc etc. But it’s just not been coming, I can’t get the words out and I think I finally know why. I can’t seem to find myself and my voice because I don’t know what’s happening to me, as in my mental health “me”.

Pregnancy Mental Health

I’m finding each day a chore, struggling to put a smile on and enjoy things I normally love. Struggling to find interest in my work or hobbies. Struggling to properly interact with people without having to put a fake face on. Now that the secrets out of the bag I’ve had so many friends and well wishers getting excited for me and wanting to share in my joy, but the thing is I can’t find the joy? I can’t seem to find the excitement? Where is it…?

I have worried that maybe I’m getting a bit depressed, I’ve had depression in the past and working with teenagers all day I definitely know the markers. But I don’t think it’s quite that bad yet, I’m just not me and I really want to know why and get back to it. I want this pregnancy with every fibre of my being, I want to be excited and coo and squeal and stare longingly at miniature sleepsuits. I want to check my 9 pregnancy apps every day to see what if anything has changed. But I’m just not.

A few people that I’ve confided in have been really helpful and reassuring. My husband is fantastic, looking after me despite being exhausted and stressed himself; letting me sit quietly when I need to, encouraging me to sleep properly, making me laugh and distracting me when he can see it’s getting too much. My very northern best friend has given me the “be reet” chat and helped to cheer me up and distract me with the oddities of house sharing and a new relationship. My mum friends have reassured me that this is normal, just to remember the insane amount of changes going on not only in my body but the baby’s too. Not to mention the many many hormones pinging their way around my body, it’s bound to have an effect. And then there’s my friends who haven’t understood why I’ve been hiding in the house hugging hot water bottles and avoiding all contact. The ones who ignore my apologies and don’t even bother replying, that hurts and then sends me right back to feeling not “me” again.

So what to do now?

I’m determined I’m not going to let this feeing overwhelm me, I’m going to make myself do the day to day things. Try and smile and take joy in the stupid and inane things that cross my desk each day. Try and look at the baby books and apps, get excited about names and size of the baby and of fingers and toes (I’ve got a kiwi sized little one right now).

I’m also doing my best not to let the negative things cause more problems; the friends who don’t reply, the things that go wrong at work, money worries or stress, just anything. Water off a ducks back – that’s my goal!

Anyway. I think I’ve now got these rants/thoughts out of my system. Hopefully. I know the feeling isn’t going to go away just because I will it, but I’m stubborn and I’m not going to give in. I also know where my line is and I know when I need to ask for help – luckily for me I have a fantastic support network.

If you’ve read this to the end, thanks for sticking with me and if you’re feeling this way yourself – please talk to someone and don’t try and struggle on alone!

Lucy At Home
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Sooo big news…

So I’ve been a bit of a ghost recently and that’s because of some really great news! I’m pregnant! 12 weeks and 5 days to be specific and that’s why I’ve been so quiet recently.

TFG's Bean

Firstly, I’ve been so knackered its unbelievable! I mean seriously! I don’t think I’ve slept this much since I was a kid! You think you know what to expect from pregnancy when you read the books and the blogs and talk to friends. Let me tell you, no you don’t! There is no possible way to know what pregnancy is going to feel like for you, but don’t be scared just keep doing your best to look after yourself and most importantly – ASK QUESTIONS!

I’ve also been struggling to keep my mouth shut and not scream it from the rooftops. I really am useless at keeping secrets like this, other people’s sure! But not mine. The thing is, as much as I wanted to tell everyone, I was terrified to do so after I lost a pregnancy last year quite early on. It’s like someone was holding a pillow over me, I was fighting to be strong and happy and excited but I was stifled and scared. It’s like my own emotions and hormones were stopping me from being excited and doing what I wanted to – shouting it from the rooftops.

This feeling of numbness and almost pressure and detachment from the excitement I wanted to feel was a bit scary. Was this normal? Do other people feel like this? Will it pass? Is there something wrong with me?

I think these feelings are pretty normal from people I’ve spoken to and other stories I’ve read, the problem comes when it becomes too much to cope with. When you feel down and horrible all the time, this is time to definitely get help. Luckily I just feel numb and not bad about anything, I can still get excited and coo over things I just wish it didn’t feel so unreal!

British Book Challenge 2017ANYWAY! So that’s my big news, I’m hoping that now I’ve hit the second trimester I’m going to have a bit more energy and can get back on track with my personal reading challenge, the British Books Challenge and hopefully get back to blogging more often!

Lucy At Home
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Fed Up February

As you may or may not have noticed – being that my only loyal fan is my husband – I haven’t written much recently. I seem to go through this every year at the end of January and February, I get fed up and give up for a few months. I get fed up of my job, of my company, of my colleagues, of my house, my car, my town, my hair, my dogs, my husband (shhh) and this year I can add trying to conceive to that – just everything. I’ve taken to calling it Fedupruary, I know snappy isn’t it!

Fed Up February

The thing is I have no real reason to be fed up of my life, I have a decent-ish job in a nice-ish company, a house that we own and not rent, my hair is just fabulous so shut your mouth, my dogs are gloriously cute little troublemakers and my husband actually isn’t that bad I suppose. However trying to conceive, that I just can’t seem to square off in my head and I think that is what is what is dragging me down so much this year. Because of this dragging me down I can’t seem to make any of the previous statements cheer me up, I just brush them off and come up with some crappy excuse.

Anyone who has tried to conceive will know that there are good times and bad, no matter the length or difficulty of your journey. We are coming up to our ninth cycle, although I’m praying it will be our last it more than likely will – with one early miscarriage, which was just frankly pretty darned shite. The last month or so I have really struggled to want to carry on with it all, of course I still want baby but to actually want to carry on with this shitty journey is something all together.

Fed Up February

So what do I do?

I can’t carry on feeling like this, I will only feel more and more crappy and eventually start to seriously damage my mental health. So I follow the lyrics of a Kelly Clarkson song that I clung to as a teenager –

“I’m forced to fake

A smile, a laugh every day of my life”

Depressing isn’t it? But I learnt a long time ago that the only way to I could get past things was to barrel through them, get up and put a smile on your face and go do the thing you really can’t face. It takes time but eventually forcing the routine helped me to start to feel like me again. So that’s what I’ve done.

MumsnetI’ve gone back to Mumsnet and to my lovely group of ladies that I chat to on a regular basis – all complete strangers that I feel I share this journey with so intimately I kinda missed them whilst I’ve been shut down and avoiding it all.

I’ve planned a trip away with my husband, I am so excited that I’ve spent a fortune on new clothes and shoes obviously. Lion King is going to be awesome! Although I haven’t picked an outfit for that yet… Hmm, more shopping?

Finally I’ve forced myself to write this sort of self-pitying and self-indulgent post and get back to writing!

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The painful painful joy…

The moment a friend calls, messages or arranges to see you and then goes on to present you with that grainy black and white blurry image, the first picture of their soon-to-be bundle of joy. Oh it is lovely, heart warming and exciting isn’t it?

That is, unless, you are on the trying to conceive journey yourself.

Then your heart starts to sink, your throat starts to tighten and the corners of your eyes to start prick. Your head is going into overdrive, trying to calm yourself down, present a strong front, don’t cave, be a grown up.

Then it is just straight painful, in more ways than one.

First, there is the selfish kick that takes over you, the jealousy that they got the thing that you want the most. Their hopes and dreams had been answered, but yours haven’t. This feeling is almost overpowering as it engulfs you that the thing that you have been hoping, trying and praying for has come to someone else.

Secondly, you feel like a horrible person as instead of being excited for your friend and loved one you have jumped straight to thinking about yourself. When actually, you are very happy for your friend, that they have now got the chance to embark on such fantastic journey and welcome a new little person into their lives.

You want to go through this journey with them and enjoy each minute. You want to look at little socks and scratch mitts with them without breaking down inside wishing it was you and not them. So what do you do? Do you tell them? Do you bottle it up inside? I suppose the answers to these totally depend on who the person is to you.

The alternative is of course, when it isn’t a grainy blurry photo but instead a teary phone call or a white face at the door asking for help and advice. Then of course, you really do have to pull yourself together and support your friend through their feelings and decisions, because right now what you want and what you think doesn’t matter. That’s the way it should be, because as painful as it is for you talking about this; getting pregnant is a personal thing and you can’t pin your hopes, dreams and feelings on other people’s experiences.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to write this post is just to show that you are not alone and it is totally normal to feel these things. When you are trying for your own child, no matter how long you have been trying, it is always difficult to deal with the totally messed up mash of emotions when a friend or family member tells you that they are expecting. The best way I have found of coping in these situations is to let myself wallow for a small period of time, assuming that the person hasn’t told me face to face I can have five minutes to cry it out, or sulk like a proper grown up. If the husband is feeling particularly loving I might get a hug and a consoling pat, as a Yorkshire man that’s about as effusive as he gets. Then I log onto MumsnetMumsnet or Babycentre and talk to some of the longterm groups I am on, or just have a nosy at other people’s posts and stories and this helps me feel a bit more normal, reminds me that other people feel like this. Then I focus on the positive, my friend/family member is soon going to be welcoming a squishy little bundle that I can coo over and spoil.

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Well meant trying to conceive “help” and “advice”

As most people can attest, when trying to conceive, when you are pregnant and when you have kids is a joyous time. Your closest friends and family, work colleagues and even strangers on the bus will share their experience and know how with you – whether you want them to or not.

Have you tried? yep

We have not told many people that we are trying, however there are a few people in each of my social circles who have either figured it out or who I have confided in that we are hoping for our own little bundle of joy. In doing this I have learnt a lot about my friends and their hidden, secret selves, the secret selves who have a doctorate in fertility specialisms, who know everything about everything and you must listen to what they say and follow it to the letter! Or god help you as you will never be blessed with a child.

I’m sure you all know just what I mean… and have experienced just this!

Most people are happy and excited for you and as such eager to help see you on your way, others lean more toward the smug-I-know-better-look-at-me-and-my-perfect-kids end of the spectrum. (Can you tell I’m losing patience?) Angry OvarySome of the gems I’ve received have been hilarious! From advice on positions, technique, products to *ahem* enhance, diet, weight , personality types, drugs, even the fact that owning dogs makes your eggs shrink!

Some of the advice has been genuinely helpful, reassurance and relatable experience, however to my dismay most of it has been prescriptive and judgemental. The assessment of myself and my husbands every move, weights, dispositions, diets and general attitude to life. And this is help and advice which is not welcome, not helpful and just downright rude. 

But perhaps the most painful has been the criticism of how I am coping personally. As a type A organised personality I like to know what is happening when, organise it, plan it, prepare for it and god no surprises. But I know, trust me I know, that this is not possible when trying to conceive as it just doesn’t work like that. However, I am coping by understanding, reading, researching and tracking things, this is what helps me sleep at night and not stress all day. It’s great if relaxing and just enjoying a whole load of Russel Brand style sex helped you, honestly it is and way to go girl.  But please, don’t tell me off or make me do it your way and I won’t make you do it my way.

RELAX!

So, I say this with respect and gratitude, and probably for couples everywhere, I appreciate that you are excited for us and hopeful and want to help. But unless I ask? Please don’t give me advice or tell me the way that I am coping is wrong, I’m coping and getting on with my life and that takes strength every day of this journey.

(Also I solemnly swear that when I’m a smug-I-know-better-look-at-me-and-my-perfect-kids you have permission to shove a sock in my gob!)

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How/Why Do I Track Body Basal Temperature (BBT)?

DISCLAIMER – I think it’s really important that I put this at the top. I am not a doctor, I do not have any medical training and everything in this post is purely anecdotal from my own experience and things I have researched myself. 

Okay, still here? Good. Well as you know we are trying to conceive our first at the moment and have been trying for around 7/8 months now and its kind of passed the exciting stage and is now more in the difficult “why the hell isn’t it happening?!” stage… With that in mind I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learnt along the way as they may help someone else and today I am focussing on charting body basal temperatures, BBT or temping for those who are used to the short hand.

I started off all excited and eager and to help pay into my need to understand I threw myself into researching what happens when you are trying to conceive. In particular I was shocked about how little I knew about how my own body worked and wanted to know more about this and how I could track what it was doing each cycle. Temping was one of the first things I started to do because it was cheap and easy and it helped to feed into my need to control know what is going on. So here goes with my explanation on how to help you get started and what you can learn.

The Thermometer

Firstly get yourself a good little BBT thermometer and you do not need to spend a fortune, you actually get them pretty cheap. This is the one I bought, click here for the link.

BBT Thermometer

I like this one as it is pretty handy, it holds the record of your temperature until you take the next one. This is a handy little feature as it gets difficult to read it at stupid o clock in the morning each day, this will make more sense in a minute. It has a very easy to use large on/off button, helpful for half asleep movements, and has a little beep when it is turned on, when it has finished taking a reading and when it is turned off. It also comes in a handy little clear plastic clippy box which helps to keep it clean and stop me losing it between my pillows.

Something important to check is do you use celsius or farenheit? Make sure that you get the thermometer with the correct read out or one that comes with options. Personally I use celsius just because farenheit is total gobbledegook to me.

Right, so, have you got your handy little thermometer? Now to get started. There are lots of good websites out there to help you guide you through things a bit better than I can but here is my layman’s description.

When do I do it? (ooh err)

So the not fun thing about temping is that it must be done at the same time every day after at least 3/4 hours sleep. It also must be done before you move, sit up, talk, have a scratch, take a piss or jump on the bed like a child to wake up your husband – I know totally unreasonable isn’t it. This to me is the worst bit because I usually wake up at different times throughout the week and kept forgetting to sit like sleeping beauty with the thermometer sticking out of my gob. So! I have an alarm set every morning with a different tune to my normal alarm, it is also at least half an hour before I have to wake up on my earliest morning. At first this was a total ballache but now ive gotten into a routine – alarm goes off – turn thermometer on – stick thermometer in gob – wait for the beep to signify it is finished – turn it off and put it back in its box – go back to sleep for as long as possible – then when I finally wake up I can turn my light on and read my temp in my own time.

I know everyone has their own morning routines and I tried for a while to avoid the earlier alarm as I hated it, but I just kept forgetting and in the end it was the best option for me.

Why can’t I do it when I visit the loo when I get up?

Well some people do and it works fine, however in my experience and from what I’ve read this isn’t the most reliable way to do this. When I tried doing mine in the loo after waking up my temps were all over the place and it wasn’t at a consistent time every day which only made things harder. Medically speaking moving or talking in any fashion will change your bbt, this is why it is so important to do it after a long rest period and before moving, Also going from a nice snuggly bed to a cold bathroom will inevitably affect your temperature.

Why does it need to be the same time every day?

Honestly? I don’t know, I probably have read it but that bit of information hasn’t stuck in my head. But what I can tell you from experience is that if you don’t stick to the same time each day it really does mess with your chart. If you work shifts there are some really good websites out there with better advice than I can give. But if you are just like me and hate alarms and morning in general this is one of those things you will have to suck up if you decide to temp.

Right so I’ve not moved and I’ve done it at the same time each morning, now what?

Okay, this is where it starts to get interesting and help you see what is going on. Firstly decide how you want to track your temperature; you can do this on paper with downloadable and printable charts like this one.

Celsius_Basal_Body_Temperature_Chart

Or you can use an app on your tablet or smart phone to record your temperatures. Because the key thing is that you should record them and plot them out on a graph, this is where you will start to understand what is going on and how your own cycle works. I’ve used the babycentre, Ovia and Fertility Friend apps on my phone and settled with FF just because it suited my needs best but there are lots of options out there so find one which suits you best.

When it comes to tracking your temp you can be as involved or stand offish as you like. Most apps/graphs will give you an opportunity to record other things as well; such as any symptoms, cervical mucus or cervix position, when you’ve had sex, when you’ve had your period, any tests you’ve taken. But these are all things for another post! But do have a look around and see what your options are.

Okay, I’ve taken my temp, plotted it on my graph/app now what?

Now you wait and see what happens, your temperature will tell you quite a bit about where you are up to in your cycle. Here is the basic guide to what it will usually do.

For the first half of the month your temp will generally be low, in celsius terms it usually ranges from 36.00 to 36.40 depending on the individual but it can go up and down.

During ovulation your temperature will drop significantly and be followed by a quick rise that will continue to rise and stay high for the rest of the month. Usually your temp drop has to be followed by three days of higher temperatures to be confirmed as ovulation. 

After ovulation your temperatures will stay high until you get your period or confirmation that you are pregnant. If the former happens your temperature will plummet to the pre-ovulation temps around the first day of your period, if the latter happens your temp will stay high or even continue to rise. This after ovulation, pre-period time is often referred to as the two week window/wait or more medically correct as the Luteal Phase.

I have included my chart from my first month of temping properly, as you can see it stayed high and I stopped temping on day 32 – this is the day I got a bfp (big fat positive pregnancy test) but unfortunately I had an early miscarriage and started temping again in August. It is however my most “typical” chart. You can see I had ovulated on day 15 and my last temperature was taken on the day I got my bfp and so stopped temping for that month. 

My July Temp Chart

And just for you to compare below is my chart from November, test yourself see if you can figure out when I ovulated etc.

My BBT Chart Nov

Now I am conscious that this post is getting really long so please do bugger off whenever you feel like it! I just want to clarify a last few bits that I asked all the time when I first started –

What are the red horizontal and vertical lines on everyones charts?

These are the cover/base line and the ovulation mark respectively. The horizontal line is called the cover line and is based on your typical pre-ovulation temperature, this is used to help you confirm ovulation and track your post-ovulation temps and predict if your period is on its way. The vertical line is to show the differentiation between the first and second half of your cycle clearly.

The important things about these two lines are that every app produces them in a slightly different way with slightly different meanings, IE. dotted lines/dashed lines/solid lines mean different things so it is important to check which yours uses and what the different meanings are.

My temperature fluctuates a lot either above/below the line pre ovulation, is this a bad thing?

Nope, it is pretty normal for most women. As you see in my chart this happens quite regularly. Now if your temperatures are massively rocky up and down, despite following all the instructions on how to take your temp properly and this is consistent each month it could be something to ask your nurse practitioner or GP about. Certain medications can cause this, as well as conditions like PCOS – but like I said I AM NOT A DOCTOR so please don’t freak out or panic – it is always best to ask a professional.

Can I confirm I am pregnant through taking my bbt?

NO! Any site that says otherwise is lying to you. The only way to get a positive confirmation is with a test. Unfortunately. If you are in the tww and desperately looking for answers, I feel your pain but step away from the pee stick and the thermometer and go do something to keep yourself busy! Unfortunately temps can stay high until the day of your period and there is just no way to be sure so do not count on them!

This is genuinely just my take on temping and why I find it useful, this journey is a long, complicated, difficult and exciting one with lots of ups and downs. The most important thing is to try to stay as healthy as you can. I don’t mean physically here, I mean emotionally and mentally; I am one of those people who needs to know and understand all the time to help me cope and so temping is a great option for me. However, if you stress and obsess and worry maybe you should step away and find another way to distract yourself because it can become very easy to pin everything on that little digital read out every morning and have your world come crashing down when it isn’t what you expected or things happen that you weren’t expecting.

Also and I mean this seriously, get yourself on one (or several) of the great ttc forums out there – mumsnet, netmums, babycentre etc etc the advice, comradery and support you receive there will generally be the best you can get.

Right, I think that is everything I can think of but if you have any questions please do leave me a comment or go look at some of the great advice out there from proper advice websites.

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New Years Resolutions?

Last year I wrote a post about my new years resolutions, to get healthy not thin, this is still sort of the plan but less of a dedication and more of a general way of life. This year I’m not really sure if I want to make a resolution, or if I did what should it be?

Getting healthy was all part of my excited, looking forward, eager to get started and become a Mum kick. A year on a bit of that has faded, who am I kidding? A lot of that has faded. I think everyone goes into the process of trying to conceive eager and a little bit blind to reality. The number of times I exclaimed “I know it could take a while and there might be issues, but I’m ready for that” and I honestly thought I was. I thought I was prepared and ready for all that it had to throw at me. Boy was I wrong. So SO wrong.

The emotions of this process are inevitably exaggerated by the associated hormones, as well as the undeniable longing for this something. Most people don’t tend to have any problems when conceiving, even if it does take time, so in theory it is pretty much guaranteed when you start trying. So why is it not easier to achieve? Why is there not more research? Why do I only have a 1 in 5 chance of getting pregnant each month – even when I do everything right? Even when I follow my new years resolutions and behave and be healthy and follow all the tips. I don’t know and neither does my doctor, it’s just life, it’ll happen, just relax and enjoy it…

Trying not to sound like I’m on a downer is difficult when reality sets in, because I am still positive and keeping my head up and excited about what the possibilities are each month. But it is undeniably a shit process and generally makes you feel shit at least once a month, no matter how proactive you are and how much positive thinking you do.

With all this in mind I think instead of focussing on new years resolutions, what I am going to do instead is focus on the way I think and act. I’m not going to let the “LOSE weight”, “only eat salads”, “no sugar diet”, “become ‘healthy'” police bully me into a resolution I don’t want. This will be an effort in and of itself working in education, if you have ever worked in education you will understand the madness that takes hold every January.

So what I will do?

British Book Challenge 2017

Well I will focus more on doing things that make me happy like reading, a lot. This is why I have signed up to the British Book Challenge 2017 and have a lovely great big stack of books ready to get stuck into. This will also help to keep me distracted – even in the dreaded two week wait! I have also set myself a personal goal of aiming for 52 books read by this time next year.

I will also blog more, writing is something I’ve always enjoyed even if I’m not very good at it! This will also hopefully help me improve my confidence levels as I focus not only on book reviews but clothing reviews as well. This will mean *gulp* photos of me on the tinterweb for all sorts of people to gawp at and recoil in horror, well I hope not but you get the picture.

THINK POSITIVE AND RELAX. Ugh just writing that I can feel my blood pressure rise, but its a good thing to commit to I suppose. Not so much in that it will “help” us get pregnant, more that it will help me to deal with disappointments and the down days.

So with those sort of new years resolutions and as I technically still have one day of 2016 left, what to do? I know! Amazon book sales…

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Our first christmas since it all started

I can’t help but reflect today that if things had been different I would now be 6 months pregnant. With a nicely rounded belly, well even more rounded, and a little one wriggling around in there somewhere. Not getting to enjoy a baileys or bucks fizz tomorrow morning, but instead nesting and prepping our house for the soon to arrive little one. But all that changed after an early miscarriage in August – lovely happy way to start a blog post I know, but please hear me out!

Instead we are now on cycle 7 of trying to conceive. This Christmas Day the only rounding of my belly will be due to a few too many sprouts and spuds. I’m not going to lie that is a painful thought, I would much rather have the above scenario if I am perfectly honest. But as I have found out, getting pregnant is not as easy as the nuns at my Catholic school made it out to be (I have definitely done more than sit on a man’s knee).

I always had immense sympathy with those who struggled to conceive, the years of stress and anxiety, doctors visits and needles only to be followed up with a slim chance of hope. How did they cope? I have no idea, they must have the patience of saints. But what I never really thought about were the people in the middle; those not quite far along enough to have to get tests, but those for who sitting on a knee once or twice doesn’t quite do it either. As we are now in that position, I can tell you its no fun! Each day is a rollercoaster of emotions, hormones, disappointment and excitement.

It started with excitement and planning, book buying and research. Now each day can vary wildly from high hopes and convinced that our bfp is coming today, to sheer disappointment and sometimes guilt. I know that it is no one’s fault, no one can do anything more than just keep trying and try and stay positive. In fact, being negative and stressing is just about the worse thing you can do – but for gods sake please do not tell me or anyone else who is trying to “just relax and it will happen” you are likely to end up on the receiving end of their flying fists.

My grouchy Yorkshire husband is still the calm one, the one who reminds me that it will happen, the one who makes me smile and keeps me moving forward. In the end, this is why we are on this journey to bring into this world a little piece of him and a little piece of me – hopefully this little one will have the sports talents of the Vunipola brothers and Anthony Joshua or the creative talents of Tolkein and Austen.

So! Moving on from the gloom and doom, instead of ‘we are now’ how about ‘we are only‘ 7 cycles in and ‘I am only‘ 27 and we are still excited and committed to bringing our own little geek into this world. Because, in the end thats what this process should be – exciting!

Also, I feel it is necessary to send a great big thank you to all the women (and men) of Mumsnet who have accompanied, helped, encouraged, laughed and cried with me so far on this journey.

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Can’t put down – The Unmumsy Mum

Okay okay. I know that I haven’t even had sticky out yet and it is way too early to be reading baby books. I’ll just put pressure on myself or get my hopes up blah blah blah.

But i did it. I bought some baby books, including The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner. 

But in my defence, firstly I am organised to a fault. I organise everything and plan ahead for everything, this is my way of coping and preparing. Secondly, I am a complete book nerd – put it this way on my bedside table alone i have 5 books waiting to be read. Then there is the 14 on the floor by my bedside table, then the two full height double depth book cases, two half height double depth bookcases and sporadic piles and books – basically I have a book addiction. Get over it already!

So tonight when looking at my pile of books I couldn’t resist my newest toy and I thought just have a look, a sneak peak. I can’t put it down! I’m hooked! I’m laughing and sighing and completely addicted to find out what’s on the next page. To the point that holding my crisp new hardback book so tight is giving me a blister on my thumb. So far this book is refreshing, witty, honest and totally addictive.

I’m sure I shall be writing more about this book soon, but for now back to the book!

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