Saturday, December 4, 2010

30w1d: still here

Nothing much to report, except that I'm still pregnant and getting rapidly gigantic. I have been pretty anxious, but I'm trying to keep the worrying to a minimum. There are a lot of aches and pains now, and sleeping is getting harder and harder. I'm very much looking forward to February! For various reasons my hospital is going to try and induce me at 39 weeks, and I'm relieved that the pregnancy will be shortened by even a couple of weeks.

I am so looking forward to meeting our tiny person and really starting life as a family. It's strange, this person has been a part of our lives for seven months now, and we still haven't seen their face, don't know if they're a boy or a girl, don't really know anything about them. I'm impatient to get to know my baby.

Friday, October 15, 2010

23w 1d: low-maintenance parenting

I'm quite enjoying this stage of pregnancy.

There are things that make me nervous about taking care of my baby while he (or she) is still inside. Mainly, I can't see him to check up on him; I have to wait for him to kick me so that I know he's ok. Plus, we're sharing a body -- if I get sick, he might get sick too. And little things, like I am starting to get a little tired from carrying this extra weight all the time... at least once he's born, I can put him down sometimes.

But on the other hand, there's so much I don't have to worry about right now! The baby gets fed automatically -- all I have to do is make sure I eat plenty myself. (Not. A. Problem.) I always know where he is. He doesn't cry. I can take him anywhere with me. He pees, but I don't have to do anything about it. He's never too hot or too cold. And yet, I feel more and more aware of the baby's presence -- especially when I'm getting lots of kicks, I don't feel alone even if there's nobody else at home. I'm hanging out with my kid.

So in a way, it's the best of both worlds.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


So, I haven't been updating here much lately. Since I went public about being pregnant, I've been talking more about it on my personal blog, and on a forum on another site. But I don't want to abandon this one.

The pregnancy is going well. I'm getting lots of kicks, and Don has been able to feel a couple of them too, and can even hear them if he puts his ear to my belly. (I'm a little jealous of that, but I also like that he and the baby can share something that's just between them.) We had the anatomy scan this week, and everything looked good -- it was great to see the baby wiggling around, swallowing and poking his or her tongue out.

I'm feeling ok in myself. There are aches and pains and mind-boggling boob itches, but nothing serious. Overall I'm enjoying pregnancy, which in my first trimester I thought would be impossible. I'm more than halfway through now and can't wait to meet my little person.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


So it's been a while since I posted here, and this will just be a quick update.

My pregnancy is going fine. But we have had a tragedy in the family; a few weeks ago, one of my sisters lost her baby, at full term.

As you can imagine, it's a difficult time right now.

But I have one little comfort -- I am getting more and more sure that I can feel my baby moving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

15w0d: keeping on

Things are still going well. The hospital appointment went fine -- the place is quite bureaucratic and a little overcrowded, but the staff seemed nice. They also seemed quite pro-breastfeeding, which is encouraging -- I think I disappointed the midwife a little bit, as she was all geared up to convince me I should BF, and seemed a little deflated when I said I'd already decided to do it. Don got a leaflet on how husbands can support breastfeeding mothers, which should have been titled "How to be a basically decent human being" -- it was full of useful advice like "Look after the baby for a little while so that your partner can sleep or have a bath," "Help out around the house so your partner can feed the baby," and "Spend time with your baby in order to bond." YOU DON'T SAY.

I had another scan, which was fun. Baby was standing on its head and waving its hands around -- we could see all the fingers and toes, as well as the spine, which looked like a little feather. I also got a blood test and they said I was anaemic, so I've been put on some heavy-duty iron tablets, and have been feeling a lot better since: less tired, less down, less out of breath.

After the hospital appointment we broke the news about the baby -- mainly on Facebook. That was a big relief because we don't have to keep things secret any more. And it was nice to get congratulated by everyone :)

Overall I'm very glad to be out of the first trimester -- I wasn't prepared for how hard it would be, and the whole thing was quite a shock. Now onward and upward!

Friday, July 30, 2010

12w1d: still here

Just checking in. Things are going well. I'm a lot less depressed now and starting to get my energy back, and my boobs are much less sore. And I have more of a bump -- well, sometimes! In the mornings I just look a little fat, but by night-time I look very pregnant. I've had to switch to maternity tights and, because I couldn't find any maternity jeans to fit me, I'm getting a belly band so I can keep wearing my old trousers for a little while.

Haven't had any more bleeding in a while now, and I'm feeling more relaxed about things. I have my booking-in appointment with the midwives in a week, and assuming that goes well I'm prepared to tell everyone about the baby. Although I think people would start to figure it out by themselves pretty soon...

Monday, July 12, 2010

9w4d: Fooooood om nom nom

I was all set to see if I'd get cravings for obscure foods. I had a couple of weeks where I was really keen on yogurt, then got really into grapefruits for a while. Now I'm just sort of obsessed with food in general -- I want everything I see people eating on TV, and everything I hear mentioned. I'm literally lying awake some nights thinking about corned beef, or kosher hot dogs from this one railway café in Germany (sob). I was telling my parents about this today, and my dad pulled out a piece of paper and asked for a list of everything I'd like him to make for me (he's a great cook). So I rattled off a list -- homemade granola, pineapple upside-down cake, cornbread, fishcakes with cheese sauce, gazpacho, Jamaican sweet potato pudding, a particular kind of potato salad, coleslaw, atole, hummus, and more... He looked a bit panicked when he realised how long the list was getting, but then got excited by the challenge. So, over the next month or two he's going to make all this stuff (some of which I haven't even eaten since primary school). It's pretty nice of him, I think :)

Aside from the food obsession, things have been up and down. I have distinct good days and bad days; Saturday I had a total meltdown (starting with early-morning nightmares), spent half the day in bed, and was convinced this pregnancy wasn't going to last. I had to miss my brother's 30th birthday party, which I felt really bad about even though he totally understood (his wife had a baby earlier this year). Yesterday and today I feel completely fine -- healthy and sane and happy, as if Saturday never happened. So, to use a hideous cliché, I'm taking things one day at a time and just enjoying the good days when I have them. Also, I'm having a lot less nausea, which is great.

Oh, and I have a bump of sorts! Well, I know it isn't actually made of womb or baby, but clearly my organs are being all pushed out of place, because my belly is sticking way out all of a sudden. I can still fit into most of my jeans because I live in the past and wear baggy low-rise ones, but I have to wear my belt really loose now, especially when I'm eating. Anything tight on my belly feels really weird (I had to cut the waistband off a pair of tights the other day, while I was wearing them). It's probably not something another person would notice unless they were looking for it, but if I'm wearing something clingy I definitely look pregnant. Yay!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

8w6d: Scan update

So, the scan went well (aside from the fact that it felt like I was getting my bladder ironed). There is just the one baby (thank goodness); it has a heartbeat and it wiggles around. We got photos and a nice little video clip.

The hormones are not being kind to me. I am wavering in my determination to honestly describe my experiences; I wrote a post describing how I feel at the moment, and I had to delete it. I know I just have to wait this out, but I hate feeling that I'm missing out -- I want to feel joyful and excited, and most of the time I'm just... not.

Monday, July 5, 2010

8w 4d: leaving my catsuit at home

So, my early scan is tomorrow! I called the clinic to ask what I needed to do by way of preparation. The seemingly 90-year-old receptionist said nothing for aaaaaages, then croaked, "Just wear comfortable clothes."

I am a little perturbed that they felt the need to specify this for a medical examination. Do a lot of women turn up in PVC catsuits?

Friday, July 2, 2010

8w1d: quick thoughts

1. Maternity sleep bras are the best! I'd never heard of them until I saw them mentioned in one of my pregnancy books. They're like a sports bra, but made of cotton instead of, like, sport fabric, and they keep everything nice and anchored so it's less uncomfortable at night. Definitely worth the money.

2. I've realised what these hormonal mood swings remind me of: being a teenager. I was mildly annoyed over something yesterday, and suddenly found myself overcome by this sense of towering rage that was completely beyond my control. It was just like being 14 and epically pissed off at my parents. At least at this age, I have a bit more of an idea of what's going on and what to do (sit outside taking deep breaths until I calm down somewhat). But it's that same feeling of being taken over by these waves of emotion, like something bigger than myself.

3. When you haven't had any kind of medication in two months, and then you take some paracetamol because you seem to be coming down with something, it makes you feel extremely mellow.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

7w6d: doing better

In the last few days the hormones have settled down a bit, and I haven't been so tired (largely because I'm sleeping till 11am), so I'm feeling a bit more positive. My sister, whose youngest baby is five months old, gave us some old newborn clothes, and we had a lot of fun squeeing over them. I still can't fathom how a human being can be SO TINY OMG.

I've had some very light spotting, which I know is normal but it still made me nervous. In the end I decided it would help put my mind at rest if I could get a scan and just confirm that there was a heartbeat -- I know if it gets to that stage, the chances are good. So I rang a clinic and I have a scan set for next Tuesday. I'm so excited about getting to see our little blobby person!

Also I got a letter from the hospital; my first appointment with the midwives is in early August, much sooner than the GP said it would be. I'm very relieved about this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

7w 4d: but on the plus side, I'm now extremely busty

To backtrack a little: I spent the time from age 15 to age 22 on the Pill. I still feel angry when I think about those years, which should have been some of the best of my life, and instead passed in a haze. I was often depressed -- sometimes severely -- and just couldn't handle the challenges of ordinary life. I thought that was just my personality, until I finally came off the Pill. It was like waking from a nightmare, and I never looked back. There have been bad days since then, but nothing on that scale.

So, you know the way the Pill works by simulating the hormones of pregnancy?


These hormones just don't agree with me. I'm not as bad as I was back in those days, but I've been steadily getting more depressed for a few weeks now. Everyone says it will get better in the second trimester, and I'm just waiting for the days to pass. I was hesitant to write about feeling this way, because I know how lucky I was to get pregnant so quickly, and I don't mean to seem ungrateful, but it just wouldn't be honest of me to pretend everything is fine. I am, at least, experienced enough to recognise these feelings for what they are and to ask the people around me for help. But mostly it's just a case of waiting it out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

6w 1d...

...and the hormones are kicking my ass.

I've been feeling a lot of nausea -- some days I'm ok, but some days, eating anything (or just standing up and moving around) makes me feel really sick and miserable. I can't figure out any pattern to what foods cause it, and I'm so sick of feeling this way that on bad days I'm reluctant to eat anything except really plain foods like rice and pretzels. These foods get a little bit boring after a while.

Partly because this is stressful, partly because of low blood sugar (well, it's hard to meet all your caloric needs when you're living on rice), and I think largely because of hormones, I haven't been very pleasant company the last few days. I'm crabby and moody; sometimes I wake up in a boiling rage, and the other night I ended up crying bitterly for some reason I can't even remember now. It's like PMS, only I haven't had PMS like this since I was 15.

In other words, I'm a stereotypical pregnant woman. All I'm missing is a desperate longing for some obscure food.


In other news, I've been looking through my options for medical care. This has been awfully confusing, as it's hard to find out exactly what the different types of care are like, and what my insurance will cover. Eventually I figured out that I can't really afford private care, so it was between semi-private and public. I was all set to go semi-private, because regular hospital care in Ireland is the stuff of nightmares* and I was afraid I'd have to wait a day to be admitted and then give birth on a trolley in a corridor, attended by some frazzled nurse at the end of a 72-hour shift. But I talked to my sisters, who've all given birth several times, and they said the maternity hospitals are different and not nearly as bad as the regular ones. (Although apparently the hospital staff are disturbingly polite if you go private.) So, I've decided to go public after all. I'm still nervous (maternity care here is still not without its share of terrifying scandals -- you may want to skip these links if you're actually pregnant, they're fairly upsetting). But my sisters have put most of my fears at rest, and I'm reasonably happy with this choice.

What it means, in practical terms, is that I'll be seen entirely by midwives, and the birth will be attended only by midwives, unless there's a problem (I'll be right in the hospital, so there'll be doctors around if I need one). I'm fine with that. And the money we're saving will buy a lot of nappies.

 *For the record, I'm very pro-public healthcare in principle. I spent three years in England and got great care on the NHS -- I had the best GP I've ever known, had a great physiotherapist when I needed one, and received prompt treatment in a clean and quiet A&E department on a Friday night, which is just not something that happens in Dublin. So yeah, public healthcare can work really well; it just happens to be terrible where I live.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cover stories

So, in the past week or two I've had to turn down quite a few social invitations. Between the bouts of dizziness/queasiness and the unpredictable sleepiness, I just don't feel much like going out, and probably wouldn't be great company anyway. It doesn't actually bother me -- I'm pretty introverted and often don't really enjoy late nights out anyway (Dublin city centre on a Friday night will do that to a person). But generally, I need to give people a reason why I'm not going to their party/barbecue/box social/drinks with the gang/other form of shindig. I can't tell the truth, but I don't like lying unneccessarily either. So far, I've come up with the following half-truths:

I'm not feeling too well. (Ranges from not strictly true to oh so very true. But if I overuse it, people will think I'm either dying or... pregnant.)
I have a family thing on. (Pregnancy is the ultimate family thing!)
I'm babysitting. (Well, I'm taking care of a baby, right? And this one's really well-behaved!)
I'm working on a big crafting project. (It's going to take ages, and you're not allowed look till it's done.) (Ok, I haven't actually used this excuse. Yet.)

So, anyone else have any good cover stories?


Nothing much new in the way of pregnancy symptoms -- although I did start crying at a camera ad on TV, so I suspect I may be getting more hormonal. Another good sign! If deeply embarrassing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

5 weeks!

So, today I'm five weeks pregnant. The queasiness and dizziness have improved, but I'm still peeing a lot, and my boobs are SO SORE. Hugging anyone, especially a skinny person, is a bad idea! I would very much like a protective steel bra, lol. Or that boob-armour the chicks wear on the covers of RPGs. I'm also feeling more tired; I did a gentle half-hour walk yesterday and arrived home exhausted and out of breath. Even I'm not usually that unfit! Oh, and my sense of smell is still doing odd things -- I seem to have developed a phenomenal ability to smell bins from a distance.

I'm nervous about everything going ok -- I think I'd be more confident if I was feeling worse. But I did another test the other day and it turned positive really quickly (there was a test line before the control line even appeared), and I'm definitely having some symptoms every day, so I'm trying to relax. I'm just a natural worrier! But with every day that goes by, I'm believing in this pregnancy more, and I'm falling in love with this baby more. I say hello to it every morning and goodnight every evening (although in the absence of a bump, I've had to resort to talking to a small freckle on my belly, which is probably bigger than the baby at this stage, but it gives me something to focus on).

I met up with a friend who doesn't know I'm pregnant. But she started grilling me on whether I was pregnant, whether we were trying, what did "we'll see" mean, etc. I gave one polite non-answer after another, and she just kept pushing. I didn't feel like answering any of her questions, and I know how painful this line of questioning can be for a lot of people, and part of me really wanted to explain to her that none of these questions are appropriate unless the other person actually seems to want to talk about the issue. Most of me, though, just wanted to change the subject. She's not someone I'd want to tell if anything went wrong early on, and so there was no way I was going to tell her I was actually pregnant. I think I may steer clear of her for a while.

Anyway, annoying people aside, things are going well.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dinner with the family

We had already arranged to meet with my family for dinner on Saturday so we decided it would be a good time to tell them that Betty was pregnant. My parents, my brother and one of my sisters were in town (my other sister is working in Turkey), so we reserved a table at a Moroccan restaurant we like. When we arrived we discovered that two of our friends were also at the restaurant. This put us in an awkward position - if we told my folks about the baby then our friends were bound to notice (we were expecting an OTT response from my sister). Betty and I gave each other a look and decided to wait it out, hoping our friends would leave soon. Thankfully they were already on desserts when we arrived....

About an hour and a half later they left. After dessert they had the longest chat ever, while we sat at a nearby table trying to come up with something else to talk about with my family. Just before they left my dad left the table to get some fresh air (I'm guessing to have a quick smoke... seriously, who starts smoking at 48?), so we had to wait for him to get back. As he sat down we breathed a sigh of relief and told them the good news.

My sister started squeeing and shouting "I knew it I knew it I knew it!!!" straight away. She also drummed her feet under the table with excitement - I've never seen that in real life before. Everyone was pleased (though my mother insists that the kids will have to refer to her by name, none of this 'granny' nonsense. We'll see about that. My sister then began thinking about what she could do to insure her status as the 'cool auntie'.

My dad gave us a lift home in his car. This meant four of us squashed into the backseat. This freaked Betty out a bit, as there weren't enough seat belts for everyone. We've both gotten a lot more leery of taking chances with road safety 'n stuff of late. We got home safely, of course.

I'm considering telling one of my friends (the guy at the restaurant, actually), but haven't quite made up my mind yet. I probably will, but at this point so many people know that I'm reluctant to tell any more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pregnant! Part 2

So, after I got the test result I hesitated for a moment. It didn't seem very nice to wake up Don at five in the morning, but I couldn't wait to tell him the news. Neither of us got very much sleep after that :) He left for work early so he could come home early, and I had breakfast and went out to the doctor.

The doctor visit was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting to get weighed and prodded and stuck with needles, but he didn't do any of that stuff -- just congratulated me and talked me quickly through my healthcare options. (I'll probably do another post on that at some point.) It turns out my GP visits will be free now, which is really nice, because €50 a visit can add up quickly! And he confirmed that I can't take my hayfever meds, which is... less nice.

I'd had the impression that there'd be a scan fairly early on, but it seems here they don't routinely scan you until 14-16 weeks. I'm a little disappointed but ah well.

Yesterday evening we told my family, who were all really excited (except for my currently 7 months pregnant sister, who texted "Congrats... It's like being in prison..."). I had thought my mother would be a bit underwhelmed because she already has a gazillion grandchildren, but she was delighted. And my dad was thrilled because this is his first grandchild! This afternoon I told my best friend, who was super-excited, and tomorrow we'll tell Don's family. That's all the people we're telling for now, though. You know, aside from the internet.

Emotionally I'm feeling good! I feel a little bit teary-eyed occasionally, but in a good way. (At one point I saw some 13-year-olds on a day trip from summer camp, thought, "My baby will one day go to summer camp!" and nearly started crying in the middle of O'Connell Street. I got a grip on myself after that.)

Physically I do feel odd -- a bit tired, a bit queasy on and off, more prone to motion-sickness than usual (and periodically dizzy in the way I usually am after a long train trip or flight). I'm rather thirsty and also peeing more,* and my boobs are sore all of a sudden (about the same level as when I'm PMSing). I'm having some crampy pains like period pains... they do make me a little nervous but The Books say that they're normal, just caused by my womb growing. I think I'm noticing some smells more -- someone on the bus yesterday smelled so badly of cigarettes that I had to change my seat, and I could smell someone's beer from the other side of the garden at Yamamori tonight.

 All in all it's been a good couple of days.

*I've already realised I'm going to be one of those TMI-ish pregnant women. Might as well embrace it.

Worked like a charm!

So, we had decided that I'd do one more test yesterday (day 28) and then officially give up on this cycle because, though I've felt a little bit off, I'd already had two negative tests and wasn't feeling anything dramatic enough to contradict them. I woke up yesterday morning at 5am needing to pee, and thought I'd better do the test then.

So, still half asleep, I peed on the stick, and squinted at it blearily as the window started to darken. Here comes the control line... no test line yet... oh hello there... wait, what? That's too easy, it can't be right. I must have just zoned out for twenty minutes or something... I actually had to check the time; three minutes hadn't even passed and there was a light but definite second line.

I'm pregnant!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How is a baby like a suitcase?

I'm not usually superstitious, but I bought pads today.

How is this superstitious? Well, to backtrack a little: when we went on our honeymoon, our luggage went missing. It didn't turn up the first evening, and it wasn't there the following morning. We were starting to get anxious (as well as feeling grim from wearing the same clothes and not brushing our teeth two days running), and finally we said, "You know what? If we start buying replacement supplies, our luggage will definitely turn up." And so it happened: we went to the chemist, bought new toothbrushes and deodorant and sunblock, and returned to the hotel to find our suitcases waiting for us. I've had airlines lose my luggage many times, and this technique always works: buy some replacement stuff, and your cases will magically return to you.

So I was at the supermarket this afternoon, and when I was going through the pharmacy aisle, I thought, "Hm, am I going to need pads this month? If I don't buy them, I'm definitely going to get my period. If I do buy them, luggage logic predicts that they'll sit unused in the bathroom cupboard for nine months." Worth a try, right? ;)
(If it doesn't work this time, I'm going to fork out €30 for a Mooncup next month. That should get me knocked up with twins.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just confused now

I'm stumped. Another test yesterday (11dpo) was negative, but I am so tired the last couple days, and I felt really sick and dizzy for hours yesterday evening. Could be I'm just not well, or could be I'm PMSing; I just don't know.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ok, I cracked

Today was the second birthday party of one of my nephews. There were a bunch of babies and toddlers there, and at one point as I was watching one of my sisters with her little baby, I felt such an urge to go pick up my baby for a cuddle. I'd half turned to look for him and almost put out my arms to pick him up. Then I remembered that I don't actually have a baby, lol. This probably sounds really sad and depressing, but it was just odd rather than upsetting. Although for some reason I then didn't feel comfortable picking up any of the actual babies, which I usually rush to do.

On the way home, I went to the chemist to buy a test since they'll be closed on Sunday, but there was a mix-up and they sold me a Clearblue instead of a First Response (Clearblue doesn't work as far in advance). Since I got two tests, I decided on impulse to use one of them, even though I knew it was too early, especially with this brand. It was negative, of course, but I'm really not too bothered -- I would have been amazed to get a positive result.

I'm less sick today, and I honestly don't know how to feel about that... anyway, I'll test again in a few days.

Friday, May 28, 2010

One week down, one to go

So, I estimate I'm at 8dpo. There's been no spotting, and some cramps; like I said, it's pretty common for me to have cramps at this point in a cycle. I haven't been feeling very well since Saturday, but I can't figure out if it could be early pregnancy symptoms or if I'm just sick, haha.

I'd planned to hold off on testing until the middle of next week, but I may crack and get a First Response sooner than that. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our first two-week wait

So: we're back from our honeymoon, which was awesome. And now we settle down to see if I'm pregnant or not... which is weird.

I'm paying close attention for any possible signs of implantation, which I think would be happening in the next couple of days. (Slightly complicated by the fact that I usually get a good deal of cramping throughout the second half of my cycle anyway.) I know there wouldn't necessarily be any sign, and if I don't have anything, that doesn't mean things haven't worked -- but I'm hoping for some spotting or something, just to ease the suspense a little.

It's the oddest feeling, not knowing if there's anything in there or not. I was so careful the last few days of the honeymoon not to eat anything risky, not to take any medications that might cause problems, and it was weird to think I was taking these precautions for the benefit of a baby that might not exist at all. Right now something is happening inside of me, but I have no idea if it's the same old process of degeneration that's happened every month for years, or something altogether new and miraculous.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This is it

So, I have just started a new cycle. And we are about to get married (woot!); and I'm due to ovulate towards the end of our honeymoon. We had originally intended to wait a little longer before we started trying to conceive, and maybe fit in another holiday later this summer before we had to worry about me potentially travelling while pregnant, but we eventually decided we just don't want to wait any more. We've wanted a baby almost as long as we've been together, and we are ready to get this show on the road!

So this will be our first cycle of actually trying. I'm excited, but trying not to get my hopes up too much, because I know statistically it's unlikely to happen the first time. But still, there's a chance; and anything that brings us one step closer to making this baby a reality is pretty great in my book.

This will probably be my last post until we get home from the honeymoon... so, bye for now!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

(Grand)baby fever

I have four older siblings, and they all have a few kids of their own, mostly boys, ranging in age from 19 down to a couple of months. This has not stopped my mother from constantly asking for more grandchildren! As I mentioned before, she's commented repeatedly on how my wedding dress gives me room to hide a pregnancy. When my latest nephew was born, she called me up at eight in the morning and announced, "It's another boy! Tell your boyfriend you have to get pregnant right now, and it has to be a girl, and I don't want to hear any excuses!" When I showed her a baby photo of Don recently, the first thing she said was "That's what your babies will look like." Any time I complain of feeling sick or tired, she immediately asks if I'm pregnant... you get the idea.

My dad (who isn't my siblings' bio-dad, and so strictly speaking doesn't have any grandchildren of his own) has kept pretty quiet on this score... up to now. I was at my parents' house during the week for the Seder, which is a big ritual meal held on the first night of Passover. There's a reading during the Seder called the Four Questions, which is traditionally read by the youngest person at the table; so far the youngest person has always been me (my siblings aren't Jewish so they and their children don't come to the meal). Before I started to read the Four Questions this time, my dad suddenly got all emotional, and said that maybe one day soon I wouldn't be the youngest person at the Seder any more. I tried to laugh it off by pretending not to understand, but he insisted, "I mean you might have a baby! Maybe soon!"

My parents may not be subtle, but they are sweet. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To the doctor again

The doctor (who looks distractingly like Dr Cameron from House) was back in today, and I went along to talk about my blood tests. They all came back normal, and she doesn't want to send me for any more tests. I worried at her a bit more, but she basically said everything seems fine, and to come back if I'm not pregnant in a year.

I've also been using the tests I bought, and I got an LH surge on Sunday, so... I guess that means I am ovulating. Which is good! (Also, holy crap those things are expensive! The shop only had the digital ones, but if I end up needing these things again, I'm just going to get the old-fashioned kind.)

Plus I got a bit of good news: I'd heard that Ponstan (which pretty much keeps me functioning during lady-times) isn't good to take during pregnancy, and I was afraid I'd have to give it up well before we started trying in case it had long-term effects. But apparently, it breaks down in the body pretty quickly, so I don't need to avoid it until I actually am pregnant. Yay!

So anyway, it's time to stop worrying. The wedding is approaching fast*, and then we'll finally get this show on the road.

*I tried on my dress again the other day, to make sure it looked OK with the shoes I'd picked out. The first thing my mother said when she saw me was "Oh, it has a nice bit of room at the waist. Good, you can get pregnant now and still be able to wear it!" Hm, I guess I know where I get my baby-obsession from.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pee on a stick

I've been doing some thinking. I can't go back to the doctor for a week, as the GP I want to see only works on Wednesdays, and the surgery is closed tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day. And I was going crazy at the idea of having to sit around waiting to see her, and not getting any closer to finding an answer.

My solution: I bought a box of ovulation tests. I should be ovulating over the coming week, so by the time I go back to the doctor I'll at least be able to tell her whether or not that happened. It may be useful for her in deciding what to do next, and in the meantime it'll make me feel like I'm actually doing something halfway useful. Plus... it's kind of interesting. I'm a biology geek.

(Any time I've had to get a pregnancy test in the past, I've always felt very sheepish buying them. I feel ridiculously grown-up buying ovulation tests instead!)

And yes, I know I said I wouldn't start using these until we'd been trying for a few months. That's still the plan; I'm just using them this one time to make sure I'm actually ovulating. Once I can actually establish that everything's working properly, I'm happy to take a less scientific approach, for the first while at least.

Test results

So, the blood tests all came back normal. On the one hand, this is a good thing, but on the other, I'm still having symptoms and I don't know why. So really, this is no answer at all.

It also seems that having these symptoms when you have normal hormone levels can be associated with infertility.

So... I don't really know how to feel. Back to the doctor, I suppose.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

...and back again!

So I went to the doctor this morning. She listened to what I had to say, and she agreed to do a blood test. They're testing for FSH, LH and prolactin, and I should have the results next Tuesday. I'm a lot less stressed now -- it's great to be taken seriously.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Off to the doctor

So, I don't want to get too TMIish about this, but I've been having some odd symptoms for the last couple of years, somewhat consistent with a hormonal imbalance. I went to the doctor back when this started, and was told it was nothing, but the symptoms are getting more noticeable lately. I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow because I really want to get this checked out properly. I know that, while what I'm experiencing isn't necessarily a sign of something wrong, it's certainly not usual, and I'm fairly sure that it can't be deemed normal or abnormal without some kind of investigation.

I am a little worried that it could be something serious, or that it might affect the baby-making plans, but right now what's stressing me out the most is the fear of getting the brush-off from the doctor: "Oh well, you're young, I'm sure it's nothing." "It's not important unless you're trying to have a baby." "I could put you on the Pill if you want.*" "That'll be €50 please." Too often I feel like doctors don't really listen to me; I'm young and I'm nervous, so therefore I must be overreacting or imagining things. And it's horrible to be dismissed like that -- I'm always left wondering what I could have said or done differently to make them take me seriously.

I had a doctor back in college who was really good. He** would listen to my concerns, and whatever was bothering me, he'd tell me what was happening to my body. If he was treating me or referring me onwards, he'd tell me what to expect and why the treatment or referral was appropriate. He always treated me like an equal. I miss him. It's hard to find someone like that.

 Anyway, I will report back tomorrow and tell you how I get on. In the meantime, if anyone has any tips for dealing with doctors, please share!
 *Nothing against the Pill in principle. But I've never been on one that agreed with me, and I've had doctors repeatedly suggest it as a way to cover up all kinds of problems rather than actually trying to address the causes of those problems.
 **Contrary to popular belief, not all male doctors are jerks.

Monday, February 22, 2010


So, it's been a while since I posted. But I have been keeping up with other people's blogs. People are buying houses and enjoying their pregnancies and having beautiful new babies, and I'm so happy for all of you.

I've been trying to relax more, not stressing so much about what I eat and so on. And I'm feeling less stressed about the whole thing. We still feel pretty impatient sometimes -- for me, it feels like I miss our baby, even though he/she doesn't exist yet. There isn't a word for missing someone you haven't yet met, but it's that same kind of longing. Still, we know that we're getting closer and closer to the time when we can actually start TTC, and that's making these feelings easier to handle. With every day, it feels less like frustration and more like excitement.

I have two new baby nephews (cousins, not twins, born a few days apart). They are utterly, utterly lovely, and for the first time in several years I can be happy for the new parents without feeling the familiar lurch of jealousy in my stomach, or just sadly wondering when it will be my turn. And after feeling so frustrated about this for so long -- because I was still in education, or in the wrong relationship, or single, or unemployed, or just because our society judges people who have children young -- I am looking forward to the TTC process in itself, to feeling that I can finally be proactive and take charge of this aspect of my life.

What we're working on in the meantime is building a family and home for our child to be born into. We're getting closer and closer to the wedding, and thinking more about what kind of a place we want to raise our kids in. Depending how the market behaves, we might, might look into buying a home later this year. But... we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pretty dresses are pretty; and stepping back a little

So, even though I dress like a slob ordinarily, I love '50s-style vintagey dresses. I think they look fantastic and, as an added bonus, they actually flatter my figure (unlike some of the other styles I like *sniff*). After a couple of hours looking at what's currently mainstream-fashionable, I feel like a complete freak because I am totally the wrong shape to wear any of it. I'm not particularly large, just... not a fashionable shape. It's a battle just finding jeans to fit. Time spent trying on retro clothes, on the other hand, makes me feel great, because they suit me. Even if I don't end up buying anything, it's still fun.

Today I had to go into town to buy some things, and I ended up in one of my favourite shops, which sells lots of goth and vintage-style clothes. I was NOT in town to buy clothes for myself, but one of the dresses (from this company) just called out to me. Eventually I struggled free, though, and my wallet and I are now safely at home. I can't really spare the money right now, and it's not like I even go out much, so I wouldn't get a lot of wear out of another glam dress. Le sigh.

More than that, though, there's the whole possible future pregnancy thing. I could be pregnant just a few months from now... or not. If I do get pregnant, I could start getting bigger right away... or not. It's one thing trying to shop for the size and shape I am now, but it's completely surreal not knowing if/when I'm going to start gaining large amounts of weight. I mean, don't get me wrong; I'm hoping I will be getting pretty huge in a year's time. It's just that I'm used to staying basically the same shape over time; and it's very odd having no idea how long your body is going to keep looking the way it does, and when it's suddenly going to start growing in new and interesting directions.


I've also been hanging around the bookshops. I already have one book about pre-conception planning, which is a pretty good one, but I'd been feeling like I should cover my bases and buy some more in case I was missing out on anything. I've ordered What To Expect Before You're Expecting from Amazon, although it won't arrive for a good while, and I was going to get Taking Charge of Your Fertility, because I've had it recommended to me about ten billion times.

I'm now starting to feel like maybe this isn't the best idea. I'm as broody as I ever was, and Project Baby is still on track -- but I want to change my approach. I'm a worrier, and I have a bit of a tendency to obsess over things, and I could probably drive myself quite crazy researching every angle of this whole fertility thing. And if there are problems, I probably will. But I know the basics, and I think it's best if I try not to overthink it for now. I'm still going to try and be healthy, and I'll still be updating here and following other people's blogs, but I'm maybe going to cut back on the obsessive reading of fertility websites and forums, and I'm not getting any more books for now. For the first few months of trying, at least, I don't want to be too rigid and scientific about the whole thing, because I don't think that will be psychologically healthy for me. No more research, no thermometers, no charting beyond what I do normally, no OPKs. There will be lots of time for all of that if it turns out to be necessary, but for now, I just want to ease up a bit and try to enjoy this journey more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Nifty Idea

Someone on another forum recently brought up the subject of baby sign language. I heard about this back in college, thought, "Oh, that's interesting, I should think about that when I have kids," and then promptly forgot about it.

Baby signing is a simplified form of sign language that can be taught to babies from round the age of seven months. Babies at that age are obviously not able to produce speech. However, they are able to learn symbolic gestures and attach meanings to those gestures. What this means is that they can learn a sign for "milk", say, and then when they want some milk they can make that sign instead of just crying until you figure out what they want. How cool is that?

Some people don't like this idea, as they feel it's too pushy to consciously teach a baby anything at this age. But it's not about hothousing; you don't teach baby signing so you can boast about how educated your child is, or so you can get them into private school in a couple of years. Basically it's a way to communicate with your baby, and it's intended to make life less stressful for parents and children. People have claimed various long-term benefits for baby signing (enhanced cognitive development, stronger parent-child bonds, etc.), but to be honest, I think the short-term benefits are more than enough to make this an idea worth exploring.

I'm so glad I got reminded about this, because now I'm really excited to try it with my future kids! I will definitely be coming back to this idea when the time is right.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tick tock

I went for lunch with my brother earlier this week. He and his wife are expecting a baby in a couple of weeks. So we talked about that, about all the stuff they're doing to get ready, and whether he's nervous, and what the baby will be like. "What about you?' he asked. "When are you going to start popping them out?" I laughed and mumbled something along the lines of "We'll see."

The fact is, I'm getting so impatient. I'm being careful about what I eat (probably not careful enough, but I'm not doing badly), and I'm trying to read up on the subject, but I feel like I'm not really doing a lot, and it's getting on my nerves a bit. There's only so much research you can do, because it basically boils down to "Eat well, exercise in moderation, and go easy on the toxic chemicals."

Wanting a baby has been a strong, almost physical longing in me my whole adult life. I'm finally in a position to do something about it. I just want to hurry up and get started already.

Four months to go.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Drink, drink, drink

As Betty has already mentioned, we decided that it would be a good idea if she let her best friend in on the whole not-drinking thing. I decided to do the same. My best mate - let's call him Ron - tends to notice if someone isn't drinking and will immediately offer to get them one. If you say no he will then proceed to nag you about it until you give in. This, of course, attracts attention...

He was a tad shocked. Not that we were planning on having children, but that I was willing to give up drinking for 6 months in advance. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I wasn't going to be drinking during the pregnancy either (wouldn't be fair on Betty). Still, he was pleased and excited for us and has promised to make sure that I always have a (non-alcoholic) drink in my hand when I'm out with the guys, so I can refuse offers of a pint without raising too many questions.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holidays, and the year ahead

So, we spent Christmas and New Year abroad with Don's family. It was nice to get away, and it was good to get to know my future in-laws a bit better. They're very nice, though the fact that we're all shy people means that we're taking the bonding process nice and slow -- although I'd imagine we'll get a good deal closer once the babies come along.

We did a lot of walking while we were away, though we also did a lot of eating, so not sure if either of us gained/lost any weight. But we kept the drinking and caffeine to a bare minimum, and didn't get any awkward questions, so that was good. :)

It did strike us that things are going to be very different once we have children. We were in a very busy, very hilly city -- as we toiled up and down the uneven, winding pavements, we talked about how impossible it would be to get a pram around. (The locals seemed to manage prams but I have no earthly idea how. Possibly they have superpowers.) I thought about how the unpredictable habits we kept, sleeping till 12 and eating wherever looked interesting, will not be practical with young children. Flying will be less fun than it is now, ha ha. Visiting historic buildings with a six-year-old? That'll be an interesting challenge. Steering a toddler through the crowds in a busy bazaar packed with delicate, shiny objects... total nightmare.
That said: I know enjoyable, interesting travel with a family is possible. These people totally give me hope! I'm just aware it'll be a hell of a learning curve, and we should enjoy our independence while we have it. Actually, our honeymoon is going to be our first foreign holiday alone, and could be our last for a very long time, and I want us to get as much out of it as possible for that very reason. We're going to Italy: anyone got any tips?


Which leads me nicely to the outlook for 2010. We'll get married in a few months' time, we'll start trying to conceive pretty much immediately, and all going well, I will be several months pregnant this time next year. This is... somewhat incredible.

Finishing school, getting my degree, a year spent living on the other side of the world: the major milestones in my life so far pale into insignificance next to this. Everything is going to change, from my name to my body to the basics of how I live my life.

This is the year when it all begins.