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.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

34 Weeks Pregnant

Hope everyone's suitably recovered from Christmas. :-)

Yesterday I hit 34 weeks pregnant which feels like one of the final milestones before the big day.

These milestones have really helped keep me going through the pregnancy, particularly in the beginning when things were so rough. First there was the viability scan at roughly 8 weeks, then the 12 week scan (after twelve weeks the chance of miscarriage drastically reduces) when we officially announced what most people already knew, then 14 weeks when I was officially into the second trimester, 16 weeks (actually 17 weeks in my case) when we heard the heartbeat on the doppler, then 20 weeks for the next scan (and prospect of finding out just who might be in there), 24 weeks for viability (after which if the worst happened then they would attempt to treat the baby), 28 weeks for the third trimester starting, and now this week, where Baby Bo could come any time and although he'd be classed as preterm, he's mostly done baking and the risk of problems dramatically reduces again.

These milestone weeks have been like little stepping stones for me through the last almost eight months. I guess the next one will be in three weeks time when I hit 37 weeks at which point Baby Bo can basically come at will. Except we're kind of hoping he doesn't since I'm due to be induced and him waiting until my induction date will reduce the odds of needing to take a helicopter to the hospital! I'm well aware of the fact it cost the NHS somewhere in the region of £5000 to get him in there, I'd feel kind of guilty about costing them another £5000 to get us to the hospital to get him out!

Our Christmas was lovely; quiet and simple, just what I needed this year. I got far too used to having afternoon naps the last few days which I was slightly worried about for going back to work post-Christmas. It was all okay though. I'm still feeling really tired come mid-afternoon/evening time and the insomnia has ramped up another notch so I'm lying awake for several hours most nights which is obviously contributing.

I seem to have got a handle on those low blood sugar dips though (probably helped by the copious amounts of Christmas treats floating around at work). Since my midwife appointment two weeks ago, Mr Click is being most fastidious about making sure I'm eating regularly and I'm doing my best to just graze continually through the day. This may be a difficult habit to break once Baby Bo arrives.

Speaking of Baby Bo, as you can see above, he's growing at an alarming rate. I'm beginning to wonder if he might turn out to be some sort of giant baby. He seems to be everywhere at once in there!

As far as I can tell, he's still head down, his back is positioned up the right hand side of my bump, with his bony little butt just under my ribcage on that side (apart from when he stretches when it'll vary from sticking out my right side, up into the ribs, ouch, or directly up the top of my bump). His feet are off to my left and can be anywhere from the middle of my left hand side to right into my ribcage. Sometimes when a little foot sticks out I tickle it by tapping my fingers on it and it shoots back in again. Sometimes it'll pop back out a moment later like he's playing a game with me.

He also responds to me when I sing along to music. Poor kid. I think he's telling me to shut up. I sincerely hope he inherits his dad's musical talents! He does seem to enjoy music though, especially stuff with a good beat.

Still hates the hand drier at work though and the fire alarm. I'm clearly an evil mummy already because I think it's adorable when I feel him startle in there. I'll enjoy it now because it'll be less enjoyable when these noises set him crying in a few weeks time!

Aside from Christmas, one of my favourite moments this week was when Mr Click woke up for the loo roughly an hour before the alarm went off. Of course then I was bursting as well, so once we were settled back in bed, we snuggled up and chatted for a while. His arm was resting across my belly and for the next hour Bo played a game that could probably be called 'kick daddy out my way'. He was having a proper little party in there. And as I've said before, he hates people invading his space!

It was just a lovely moment between the three of us and I'm looking forward to many more early morning cuddles with my boys in the weeks and months to come.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas from the Click Clan!

Hope you and yours have had a great day if you're celebrating today.

It's been fabulous here, but now I'm ready for bed (and I had a nap this afternoon)!