I thought we needed our extension being built right now like a hole in the head but actually it’s been a blessing in disguise. So far it’s keeping my mind off all of this IVF stuff as it really can consume you thinking about the next injection, the next scan, the “what ifs”. So having a giant whole in the ground and a big mound of dirt is actually quite therapeutic. Wonder how long that feeling will last? G’s reaction was “oh no mummy! Big mess! Rubble, rubble, rubble”. My child is not cleverly defining the type of aggregate on the ground, Rubble is a character from Paw Patrol; a digger. I know this because I am cool and down with the kids.
It’s been a week now that I’ve been on the stimulation injections (IVF talk that is “stimms”). I’ve had a scan and right now I have 13 follicles which have grown to almost 10mm each. They need to get to 18mm before they are collected. Hopefully in each of those follicles is an egg, so I may have 13 eggs retrieved, and that way the recipient will get at least 6 eggs for their treatment and we will get 7. That’s a good number and I’d be delighted with that.
I inject in my stomach; it’s like a dot to dot and I’m feeling like a pin cushion. Can’t imagine having to do this every day for life like some people have to.
L says me injecting is putting her off her dinner! She must’ve sensed I was in a jovial mood when she said it otherwise i don’t think she would’ve dared! Her face was a picture when she got a double yolker making me scrambled eggs. She said “it must be a sign”. I really hope not as she’s not the one who would be getting up in the night…remember she “doesn’t do nights”!! I know people manage it, but 4 under 4…my personal hygiene would suffer considerably more than it does now. My main excitement about work is getting to go to the toilet on my own and have a shower for as long as I want and even then there is a chance I can be caught with my pants down if I get a shout!
On the whole my mood has actually been ok. No tears this week and I even braved a Starbucks as I knew I was emotionally sturdy not to freak out if I dropped it. I did have a bit of a wobble today as I’ve been trying to do anything I can do to grow these follicles (which isn’t much really) but mainly drinking loads of water so I don’t get unwell and making sure I’m eating lots of protein. I then thought about how I need to make them really good and healthy as I have the responsibility for the recipients eggs too. I was overwhelmed for a few minutes until I was distracted by the kids trashing the place and it didn’t stop me from scoffing about 5 chocolate brownies, so I obviously got over it quick. If the recipient is successful they have me to blame for their child being a cake addict! Sorry.
Back again in a few days to see how the follicles are progressing and to see if we are on track for egg collection next week. Eeeeek!
As if I needed any more reality checks to remind me that all the hype and excitement of the wedding day was now over, but now I’m surrounded in the most unpleasant of bodily fluids while we try to crack the toilet training of the G force. Feel like I’ve got myself a puppy. I’m currently working with bribes. I’ve taken out a second mortgage in paw patrol mashems along with unlimited use of you tube to watch this annoying show where someone in America opens toys. Yes literally a show about opening toys. G is absolutely addicted, I on the other hand, HATE it. The voice of the woman is driving me insane but as she will do anything if I let her watch it, I will suffer in silence. Crack on G!
So now I can be regularly seen running round the house like a complete idiot singing ‘wee wee in the potty. Wee wee in the potty’! Inspired by the 90s look who’s talking too. FML! I’m sure I used to be cool. Or at least cooler than this. Sometimes I feel like I’m looking in on my life, and it’s not my real life, and what I see is a complete moron! I’ve stocked up on the winter spice plug ins in the hope it masks any smell developing from the numerous stains dotted around the house. Guess it’s lucky we haven’t got our new flooring down yet… and then it dawns on me we could potentially be doing this twice more if we are lucky enough to have a third child. We are crazy!
With that in mind we are back to focussing on making baby number 3. Waiting for all of the test results to find out if I can donate, and if there are any implications for our girls with the genetic testing, has been pretty tense. Thankfully, all of the results have come back absolutely fine so nothing to worry about for any of us and looks like we can carry on as planned – an IVF cycle with half of the eggs collected to go to a recipient.
So what next? Next step is starting treatment which also means that the clinic will match us with a recipient. It also means that I need to confront the paperwork which the recipient and (hopefully) any donor conceived children will receive. I’ve been asked to write a goodwill message about why I am donating and then a bit about myself. It’s so hard thinking about what to write. I’ve read what our donor wrote for our girls several times and it’s really lovely and inspiring. I am probably over thinking it all but I really want to make it good. Just trying to put myself in their position and what sort of information they would want to know.
L said she wishes baby number 3 would hurry up and get here. We are both feeling really broody seeing lots of new babies appearing. Although L thinks it’s all a “faff on” and can’t be arsed with “emosh hormones” and just wants the next one here without the “arsing about”!! She’s already mentioned her distaste at not drinking for 2 weeks before the baby is due in case she has to drive to the hospital but lucky for me she has researched the cost of a taxi just incase! Don’t worry I will try not to inconvenience you too much L, like when Ducklips was due and I wouldn’t let you stop for a sandwich while I was having contractions.
We are now on countdown for our holidays and really looking forward to some quality time together with our familymoon coming up. Only problem is we’re on high alert for spots as there are 32 cases of chicken pox at the girls nursery and we only have 4 weeks until we fly. Come on kids if you’re going to get it, get it now PLEASE!
It’s been a mad few weeks (even for us!) We’ve had the wall knocked down at home, on week 3 without a kitchen, final dress fittings for the wedding, a trip to Wales to meet my 5 week old nephew with delightful newborn snuggles followed by 2 hours in soft play hell with the stench of deep fried nuggets of doom, which are still haunting me today from my pushchair footmuff, and our little Ducklips has started walking and got her first pair of shoes. To top it all off L and I are both doing dry January in a last ditch attempt to be good before the wedding but both drooling at the thought of drinking wine around our newly constructed kitchen next weekend.
The novelty of eating out every day has worn off as I just want to be in my comfy clothes at home but on the plus side we have managed to catch up with a lot of people we haven’t seen for ages as I’m doing the rounds accepting meal offers from our lovely friends.
Amongst all this, just to add another cup of crazy to the mix, we’ve been to visit our consultant at the fertility clinic to discuss our options for making baby number 3.
Stupidly we turned up early (big mistake!) and they were running late so we were trapped in a confined space with two hungry kids. It was like an endurance test arranged by the clinic to check our suitability to add another tiny human to our family. There were times when we both had the look of ‘how the hell are we going to cope’…I mean there are only so many times your children will laugh at you blowing up latex gloves and the bloody Ipad was out of battery.
The consultant was offered a manky bit of sausage roll from G force which they politely declined several times before giving in to the adament toddler (wonder who she gets that from). Supposedly they were going to save it for later! That’s what I say when I’m faced with the prospect of having to eat something a snotty bug-ridden child has handed me. Hmm yummy!
We discussed the prospect of me donating some of my eggs to someone who can’t conceive with their own eggs. It’s something we briefly looked at when we first started the journey to make babies but at the time it didn’t feel right for us and, although a lot of your treatment costs are covered, we didn’t feel that a financial incentive was the right reason to do it.
4 years on, and two babies later, we can truly appreciate what our sperm donor has done for us and we are so grateful that our world has been completely turned upside down (for the better!) by having our girls in it. I feel life rich. It is also since having kids we have met so many people who have/are struggling with conceiving so to give something back feels like the right thing to do.
It wouldn’t all be one sided though as egg donation would involve IVF which would have a greater success rate than the IUI treatment we’ve had previously so hopefully we wouldn’t need any more sperm as we only have 2 vials remaining. So fingers crossed we can all benefit from this treatment.
We’ve been told that it takes quite a while before you find out if you can donate as there’s a fairly lengthy screening process involved. The next step for us is to have a counselling session to discuss the implications with donating eggs and to begin blood tests to screen for diseases. So we shall see and in the meantime I’m gearing myself up for the party we have booked for G forces third birthday next week – L’s face will be a picture spending her Sunday afternoon in soft play hell, forced to climb the 12ft cargo net by G force and having to deal with other people’s kids and their parents! She’s going to be ecstatic!
Well we’ve got a big year coming up. L and I are not ones to shy away from challenging situations but we’ve completely outdone ourselves this time.
We’ve kick-started 2017 with a complete remodel of the downstairs of our home, converting our Civil Partnership to a Marriage on our 10 year anniversary in an all-singing, all-dancing wedding next month, having an extension built, our familymoon in April and all while riding the roller coaster of life with our very bossy two year old, G force, whose favourite word is no and the ‘always eating – but never sleeping’, one year old we call ducklips. And breathe! So just when I think it couldn’t get any more crazy I’ve only gone and gotten L to agree on trying for baby no. 3!! Woo hoo!!!!
You may think that I must’ve just kept nagging and nagging until she would do anything to shut me up. Yes! That is my normal tactic. However, with this she is probably a bit more excited than I am mainly as she “doesn’t do” night shifts when it comes to the kids. An agreement we made early on in our parenting journey for the sake of our relationship. L is the type of person who likes what she likes and can’t be arsed with anything else in between. Her no nonsense attitude attracted me to her but it also annoys me now when I’m trying to get her involved with social gatherings or any extra curricular activity taking her out of her cosy home where she may have to interact with another human being. If she doesn’t want to do something she simply wont. I call her the gruffalo and she quite openly admits she is happy being miserable but when she has to see to the kids in the night her misery levels fly off the chart and even my Patty Simcox chirpy (L says annoying) personality with rainbows, marshmallows and movie scene daydreaming cannot suppress it. So for a good 9 months she’s set for a good sleep and that’s probably what she’s banking on.
So faster than Usain Bolt on speed, the clinic appointment was booked to discuss our treatment options. A quick reaction was essential before L can back out as we are currently experiencing less than satisfactory sleep levels with a poorly baby suffering with a stinking cold which is creeping it’s way round our house.
Waiting for the appointments to come round normally feels like ages but with work, the girls and numerous spreadsheets finalising every minute detail of our wedding – I’m sure it will be here before I know it. Third time round I’m feeling pretty prepared for what is to come with ‘making baby no.3’ and especially for the stupid/awkward/thoughtless questions.
“Is it L’s turn to have the next baby?” Has hell frozen over?!! Not only does the thought of her having a tiny human growing inside of her seem like an alien concept I can not physically or emotionally cope with L in a pregnant state. I don’t even think she would manage to be happy being miserable if she were pregnant.
“Will the next one look like you or L?” (Eye roll) Probably L you absolute moron.
“Will it be the same dad?” (WTF face) Erm no. Our children have two mummies and zero dad’s but we will be using the same sperm donor.
They say these things are the most stressful times in your life and that’s when you’re faced with them individually. And here we were dealing with them all at once. Looking back I wonder how we managed to get through it all but at the time it was just a case of getting through each day and with so much happening you didn’t have time to stop and think about it.
We knew it would be hard for us all early on as I was recovering from a section and it’s not like you can just rest up in bed. You go in for any surgery and you’re told to rest and give your body time to heal but with a c section you have a baby to care for and, in our case, a toddler too. I feel like a proper warrior thinking I managed that and all on just some paracetamol and ibuprofen-none of the good stuff as I was breastfeeding! It’s simply amazing what women can do whether they have what’s deemed a ‘normal’ birth or a section you still need to recover whilst caring for an eating, pooping, crying, and if you’re one of the lucky ones (trying not to hate you), sleeping machine.
We did try to move house just before ducklips arrived but that didn’t work out so we knew it would happen quite soon after the birth but what we weren’t expecting or prepared for was the sudden loss of L’s mam, my mother in law.
We were on week 3 with baby. Just at the stage where I was getting more mobile and no longer shuffling my way around the house or clock watching for the next dose of pain relief. Baby was doing well (thriving in baby world!!) and I was getting to spend more time with G force in the hope it would make the transition better. We were just about over the ridiculous hormonal stage where you cry several times a day for several different reasons (or quite often no reason at all!) and everything did seem easier second time round. In fact the majority of the time you didn’t even realise little ducklips was there as she slept a lot through the day and we put her upstairs away from the toddlers destructive path. We also weren’t as reactionary as we were with our first and didn’t feel the need to pick her up with every little grunting noise she made. Things were going really well and looking back maybe too well. Maybe we should’ve known something was going to happen to burst our bubble?
We had had a lovely facetime conversation with L’s mam the night before she died. She told me I looked good. I knew she was lying, I could see my face on the screen and I looked rough, but she was just being kind (that was her all over). The kids were also on facetime and she spoke to them and was trying to get G force to perform some tricks as it was only a few months earlier that her Nana and Granda saw her take her first steps before L saw them! The power of technology at its finest. She absolutely doted on the kids and loved being their Nana. We didn’t realise at the time just how poignant that conversation would be and although there would always be things that if you knew what was going to happen you may say or do but there are no words that needed to be said or had been missed which is a real comfort.
Next morning the most awful call came that she had died in the night. It was surreal. How is it possible? We were talking to her a few hours ago? She was fine. Huh? It hit us like a bus.
The next two weeks passed in a blur. We spent the time between the North East and home, staying in a hotel for the majority of it. There was this sadness all around us yet we had a new baby who had just arrived and was giving us so much joy that we needed. The whole thing just felt like a living nightmare and it would’ve been so easy to wallow away the days but that wasn’t an option for us. It was our girls that got us through it for sure.
We also had so much support from our friends and family. I think they all appreciated that not only were we dealing with the crazy days with a newborn and a toddler but also this huge loss leaving a gaping hole in our lives. We felt loved. There were food parcels left on our doorstep, flowers and cards from near and far, visits from concerned friends offering their support and people just being there when we needed them. It’s these moments when you know who has your back and wow we were overwhelmed.
The funeral took place when ducklips was 5 weeks old. I had expressed just enough milk to cover a couple of hours and a good friend looked after both of the girls while we had her mam’s funeral. L humbled me with her courage as she stood up in front of everyone (it was rammed with standing room only as she touched so many lives) and said her mam’s eulogy. What I saw that day was one of the many reasons why I’m marrying that woman as she is the most admirable and courageous person I know. I’ve never seen strength like it and I know her mam was with us beaming with pride for her baby that day. L has such a way with people and managed to make people smile, laugh and enjoy her words as she shared stories of her mam and rather than it being a really sad moment it felt uplifting, although heart wrenching at the same time. I doubt there was a dry eye in the chapel.
Afterwards there was a gathering of friends and family which was really nice. I know funerals are sad times but I always think that it gives you the opportunity to see people you don’t normally see and that is a good thing. Again we didn’t have any time to dwell on things as my boobs were telling me ducklips was due a feed so I was back into our reality. I picked the girls up after they had spent a few hours trashing someone else’s house and they joined in with the wake. L picked up ducklips and she puked all down her….Nothing like a childs bodily fluids to lift the mood on a day like that! There was that brief second of uh oh how will L react…She shrugged her shoulders and smiled which was the ok for us all to erupt in laughter. L’s mam would’ve said ‘it’s only a bit of sick pet!’.
Afterwards there wasn’t any time for us to stay up North as we had to get home. We had two babies who needed their home and we had less than a week now to move house.
Moving day came round really quick. When your friend arrives at your home with bacon sandwiches on the morning of your move you know they’re a keeper. And more so when they arrive at your new home that evening bringing your toddler, dinner and a bottle of champagne!
It was just what we needed after an epic moving day which involved not a lot happening at first. The removal company were late and there was a problem with their van so they had to bring a small van which couldn’t fit all of our stuff in it so they would need to do two trips. We were hoping to get the van loaded with the second lot of stuff before the new owners of our house arrived to move in but as we pulled into the street they were already there in the house probably looking at our furniture with WTF faces!! I would’ve been.
L had sent me round to our old house, whilst she tried to sort the new house, armed with the 6 week old in the papoose hoping it would smooth things over. She was basically pimping us out to pull big sad eyes to the people so they went easy on us. I was very apologetic and they were so understanding (more than I think I would’ve been) but mainly I think they just felt sorry for us. In the end I was hoovering our old house with the baby in the sling whilst the new owners were standing outside. I felt pure shame and embarrassment so when the van was finally packed I was so pleased to leg it and return to our new home.
Space. There was just so much space in the new place. Not so much now it looks like toys-r-us threw up in it, but back then it did feel big. The house itself was in a really good condition and mainly it just needed decorating for now. L got stuck into it straight away. I think she was using it to help her grieve. It would give her space to think and she said she spoke to her mam through it so I would be with the kids most of the time but after a few weeks L was really wearing herself out doing that after a whole day at work and we were hardly seeing her. She was exhausted both emotionally and physically and I had to tell her enough was enough. Although she had used the house to help with the grieving process she had distanced herself from us and I missed her and the girls missed her, and when I confronted her, she missed us too but didn’t know how to get the cycle to end. I was fed up of being like a single parent and I needed her with me. So we knocked it all on the head.
We talked and talked and cried and cried and L opened up about her feelings. We decided to just have family time for a while and enjoy being with each other as that was what is important. We knew now more than ever how fragile and precious life is and what is important is time and memories. So we started enjoying ourselves, laughing with our girls, and relaxing in our new home. We had survived some of the toughest life changing events but only because we had each other. Our own family unit.
My mother in law always said somebody dies to make room for a new life and as much as it hurts us that she is gone (in fact I’m still quite annoyed with her for going and I tell her regularly) we appreciate that our new baby girl is here and maybe she made space just for her or for another baby somewhere else. She was a very wise woman, very intuitive (irritatingly so!) but always with the best of intentions.
She also said that whatever Katy wants Katy will get and if I want three children I will get it. Well watch this space Lynn you may end up being right on that too 😉
Apart from one little false alarm at 37 weeks and an overnight stay in hospital baby no. 2 was well behaved and waited for their birthday. We had the choice of the Thursday or Friday and we chose the Thursday as that’s the day our babies are born. It was also the same date just 18 months apart from the arrival of G force so will hopefully make it easier to remember when we are old and delirious!
Since we knew we had the section booked it meant we were super excited about the whole birth and it took away any uncertainty of what was going to happen. We both hoped it would be the great experience that we really wanted it to be with memories we could treasure and be happy when we remember it.
It was an early start for us and for our poor friends where we dropped G force at the crack of dawn then headed off to the hospital. We were shown to our bed where we had to wait for a few hours until it was our turn. I’m proper hungry by this point as I’ve been nil by mouth for about 8 hours so far and I’m used to at least one in-the-night snack this far into the pregnancy and there of course was L bleating on about how hungry she was and could she get a cup of tea. It’s not the first time she has been like this. There’s no shame to this girl she has previous. I was having a minor op a few years ago and was also nil by mouth. L was hungover as she had been out with her mates the night before, I had to drive myself to the hospital for the op and she just sat there feeling all sorry for herself. She would’ve got in the bed if she could of! We were in a private hospital that time with a menu for visitors and they brought her a nice fresh prawn mayo sandwich, bag of Crisps and a cup of tea. She even had the cheek to ask the nurse if she could watch the footie on the telly. Seriously I couldn’t make this stuff up.
Anyway she got herself a cuppa which was a relief to me so I wouldn’t have her whinging on. She then had to get her clothes ready for theatre and there was a right hoo haa about the shoes they had given her. Honestly she does make me laugh but I’m not sure I’m selling her as the ideal birthing partner or life partner for that matter!
We met the surgeon prior to the delivery and my initial thoughts are she’s got small hands and looks neat so she will do a good job with the stitches!! This is the sort of thing on my mind as knowing there would be a scar was bothering me a bit. L now calls it the baby envelope. Cute eh? The name not the scar.
We walked along to the theatre with L pushing the cot for our baby (she had enough energy to do so since she’d had her cuppa!) and then it all began. We met the theatre staff who were all amazing and very chatty putting us both at ease. They started with the spinal block and I remember the radio was on in the background playing Charlie Puth ‘Marvin Gaye’. We both clocked it and smiled. It was just such a nice relaxing environment it didn’t feel real and everytime we hear that song it’s a nice reminder of that day. Thing is with a planned section you can’t quite believe that you are going to hold your baby in a matter of minutes. It’s all a bit surreal. Then L brings me back to reality with her witty comments as always. It’s at that moment when my legs are just starting to feel numb and I’m saying that it’s starting to work and L whispers in my ear ‘do you feel like Lieutenant Dan?’ Eeh I nearly ended my days. I probably wet myself and didn’t feel it I was laughing so much! She cracks me up always finding the funny in the serious. (It’s a character in Forest Gump if you’ve not heard of them)
Baby no.2 was born at 12:11. Just like that they were here. I remember seeing their skinny little legs dangling in the air and them crying. Such a relief they were here safe and well. But what did we have? A girl. Wow! Another girl. Perfect. We were both crying and so happy and enjoying every minute of this moment. We were making happy memories. We also had a girls name sorted from around 30 weeks and we didn’t have a boys one so that was quite fortunate. We call her duck lips….its self explanatory.
L went off to do her bits cutting the cord and getting some pictures. Ah they’re so beautiful. It’s amazing we could capture those very early moments. Then there were more wardrobe issues as we didn’t know what we were having so went for gender neutral clothing. This cute little sleep suit with a yellow lion hat but when our baby had the hat on it just looked dirty yellow and not cute fresh yellow! Eeh the things you think of. So I’m telling L to change the hat as it looks awful and the anaesthetist is agreeing with me! Thankfully they had an adorable plain white knitted one we could switch it with. Can’t be having wardrobe malfunctions at 7 minutes old can we?
And it was pretty much as simple as that. They were still doing their bits and bobs on me and there was a moment when I thought I was going to puke but they sorted that out quickly. L said ‘wow if it’s this easy we should have 3!’ All while I’m still lying with myself open in theatre! Nutter!! I laughed a nervous laugh but secretly I was thinking the same.
We were then wheeled off to recovery where I could have my first skin to skin contact with my little baby. It was amazing. It really couldn’t have been any more perfect. Baby was happy, L was happy and I was on cloud 9. I could feed our baby straight away and she latched immediately. Honestly if carlsberg did birth plans….
After some time in recovery we were taken back to the ward and there I was holding our little girl and feeling so proud. I was beaming from ear to ear. I was also starving. Proper hank!! Thankfully my hunter gatherer sourced me some edible delights and ordered me a pizza later!!
I soaked up every single second of it just being us as you know you’ll never get it back. It was precious and everything I had envisaged having a baby would be. Proper cheesy movie type moments and they were all mine to now cherish.
The next heart wrenching moment was when G force met ducklips the following day. She was only 18 months old so I’m sure she didn’t really know what was happening. We followed all the advice though, we had gifts for her from the baby and I made sure I had fed her before she arrived so I wasn’t holding her and could devote all my attention to the G force. Her little smile lit up the room as she ran to me. It was like eating warm porridge and your belly being all cosy. Lush! Then we showed G force her baby sister and she smiled for a bit, we got the mandatory picture to treasure forever, then she demanded she be let back down to do what she wanted to do! And this was the start of our new normal.
I was secretly happy I had another night in hospital just to sit and sniff and cuddle ducklips and get to know her. There was no rushing to get out and get home. Second time round you have that opportunity and knowledge to make things happen the way you want them to and just know what you want and how you want things to be. Geepers if there is a 3rd time I’m going to have mastered my birth plan to a tee and maybe I will sort some champagne in there somewhere!!