My IVF Journey: 1 week on stimms.

My IVF Journey: 1 week on stimms.

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!

 

My IVF Journey: First scan

My IVF Journey: First scan

Will it ever stop raining? It’s making me grumpy as I can’t let the kids “bounce, bounce” as G says, on the trampoline. Normally I can let them loose in the garden to keep inside tidy and get them to burn off some energy in the hope it helps ducklips sleep through the night (I’ll probably still be saying that when she’s 5!). So instead I’m hoovering up mess 3 times a day, we’re still watching annoying videos on YouTube of kids opening toys and if I’ve got to balance anymore tiny pieces of brightly coloured plastic on buckaroo I may actually die. Maybe it’s the drugs but my patience is short, and at times, non-existent.

I had my first scan to check everything was as it should be. I was feeling really anxious beforehand wondering if I’d be ready to go onto the next stage of treatment and going to the clinic gets me nervous as well. We have experienced a lot of emotions there and plenty going on right now. Thankfully I had the smallest one to keep me company who was showboating as always. She is so confident and everyone comments on how happy she is since they obviously haven’t met her in the middle of the night! I loved my message from L that morning “Good luck my baby making machine”. Aww. That helped make me feel better.

The scan was to make sure that my ovaries were completely turned off without any follicles growing which they were and meant we can move on to the stimulation injections which are now to produce lots of follicles and hopefully lots of eggs.

So far the injecting has been going well. Not too many side affects apart from some hot flushes in the night and my mood is up and down. Ask L and she’ll tell you I’m being erratic.

There was an occasion, which I’m now embarrassed a bit to mention, when I spilt my Starbucks and there were tears. Not even a little sly one rolling down the cheek but full on uncontrollable flow of tears and unattractive sobs with shoulder action and snot. I can laugh about it now but at the time I don’t know what came over me. I was really looking forward to that drink and was now distraught at it swilled all over the buggy and the floor. It didnt end there though as I tried to find happiness with a slice of cheesecake and a fly landed on top of it. It pushed me over the edge. L’s WTF face was staring at me burning a hole in my soul. I wouldn’t have blamed her for divorcing me right there and then. I know, I know, I’m a total idiotic bag of hormones.

Once I’d calmed myself down and come back to reality L said “I’ve probably got another 9 months of this!” My response was a little less than friendly but I am self aware, i’m a bit up and down (well a lot) and i’m trying my best to not to kill her.

So now I will be injecting twice a day for at least the next week until I will be scanned again to check if the follicles are growing and how many of them there are. Grow follies grow!

Jet lag and the first injection.

Jet lag and the first injection.

Jet lag! That’s what’s on my mind right now along with Ducklips breaking out in chicken pox pretty much as we walked through the door at home (we couldn’t have timed that better if we tried). Bloody jetlag is taking the relaxation out of our hols as having the girls up for 5 hours in the middle of night really takes the shine off the rest of our amazing familymoon!! I felt like the walking dead and straight back to work too. I was so tired I could’ve slept on a washing line, I was slurring my words and incomprehensible. It was like I was drunk. Europe next year me thinks.

We had spent a week relaxing in Scottsdale, Arizona which was really chilled out with the kids playing in the pool most of the day and L and I taking sunbathing shifts. Vitamin D makes me happy! We were supposed to have 30 minute slots each but L is more hard-core than me and can take the 35 degrees heat. After about 10 minutes I had cried off and was willing to swap back and have the girls. No wonder she looks like she’s been away for a month!!! Ducklips learnt to be in the pool with armbands on; bless her little dinky body bobbing around in the pool. G spent hours in there too happily amusing herself while we sampled the local beers during happy hour. I could’ve easily stayed another week.

We added a super special surprise to the end of the holiday dropping in on my Nana in Vancouver. She will be 80 next year and hadn’t met Ducklips yet so after being bumped off two standby flights, a rush change of terminal with two kids in tow and the double buggy, a 3 hour flight to Seattle, then picking up a car for a 4 hour drive over the border to Vancouver – Bam! There we were on her doorstep. All coordinated with military precision thanks to my Aunt and a family friend. My Nana thought she was getting a kitten so she was relieved when it was us. She said it was the best surprise of her life. Wow! Well that’s just brilliant and worth the epic journey just to see the look on her face. We spent a couple of days together. It was so lovely seeing her with the girls; they were both saying “Nana”. It melted my heart and hers I think. I was even lucky enough to meet some of my family that I hadn’t met yet. Magical moments to treasure.

I’ve had my first injection. This one is to turn my ovaries off before I start stimulating them to make lots of eggs. I was really calm and relaxed about it in the morning but when my alarm went off to do it I got really nervous. It’s not nice injecting yourself and I feel for people who have to do it everyday.

L was strangely excited knowing it was the first day of the drugs. Although she did mention how hard it’s going to be and how much she misses me not me being a Mum, but being just me. She’s so sweet and so needy. I put her heel balm on and put on her socks as she needs a little bit of looking after right now. I’m already a Mother to 3 so this won’t be like getting a third child more like a fourth!!! Don’t think I’m going to have too much time pondering over this treatment with these three keeping me busy!

No time to dwell on the injection as the kids were running around my feet after spending the last half hour fighting on the trampoline. Ducklips has started hitting and when we catch her she just stares back at us with the ‘and what’s your problem’ face (bit like L’s WTF face). Obviously we are blaming the nursery for this behaviour as she must’ve picked it up from some little s@#t there. It can’t possibly be her own doing as darling child is so perfect. Hmmmm…

 

The Familymoon so far

The Familymoon so far

It was really hard to be excited on the run up to the Familymoon since G force had come down with the pox and we weren’t sure if we would make the trip but at the last minute we got a fit to fly letter and skipped our way to the airport two kids in tow, 3 suitcases, a collection of hand luggage, 2 car seats and the double buggy which cost more than my car! I could finally relax and be excited about a whole 2 weeks of family time which is exactly what I need before starting IVF. I was so elated about all being together I wasn’t even considering the 11 hour flight, the jet lag or 8 hour time difference – we were going on holiday!!!!

We were about 4 hours into the flight and at about 36000 feet when we had exhausted all of the entertainment we had packed for the kids. L must’ve had some sort of realisation when she looked at me and said “this isn’t going to be a relaxing kind of holiday is it?”. “I mean I’m not going to be able to watch a film and have some wine on this flight am I?”.

Aww bless her. Did she really just realise this right now? I felt too sorry for her to give her a WTF face or even an eye roll so I just smiled sympathetically. Deep down I was laughing hysterically at her innocent (stupid and ridiculous) misconception.

We arrived into Vegas knackered but excited. I was going into this eyes wide open. I knew it would be nothing like the last time we both were here when we wandered round the city from casino to bar to casino in a drunken happy haze then lazed around the pool working on our tan. For a start, kids aren’t allowed in casinos and swimming pools are not quite that relaxing with a 1 and 3 year old. My Google search was ‘fun things to do with toddlers in vegas’ and at that point I rolled my eyes at myself for sounding so dull! What I should’ve searched was ‘things to do with kids with jet lag?’. That would’ve worked better for us as all the things geared at little kids aren’t open in the middle of the night. Midnight they were wide awake ready for the day and so was I to be honest. I managed to persuade L, who was being all protective and nervous, to head down the strip and have a look around. I thought it would help tire the kids out. So we had a wander, did some shopping and mingled with the drunks and homeless in McDonald’s. Not quite the start to the holiday we had planned but we were all together so it was good.

We beat the battle of the jet lag on day 3. By then we had been to see the sharks at the aquarium, the fountains at the Bellagio, spent an hour at some shitty indoor kids themepark which I can only describe as Metroland to those from the North East, and we also made it to the Rainforest Cafe which the kids absolutely loved.

Las Vegas was done. We picked up a car and hit the road. First stop the Hoover dam. The kids were whinging and crying after about 20 minutes in the car. L and I shared a glance. It was a what-the-feck-have-we-done-coming-on-a-road-trip-for-our-holiday look but 5 minutes from the largest reservoir in the United States both kids were flat out and we turned the music up and had a little bit of us time. It was bliss while it lasted.

We then made it along Route 66 and headed to the Grand Canyon. It’s my second time but it was still as mind blowing. One of those places you could just sit for hours taking it all in. It’s the geography geek in me. Then I saw a fire hydrant right there next to the rim and I was reaching all time super geek excitement levels. We even managed to get a family snap with it in the background (the Grand Canyon not the fire hydrant) without the kids jumping over the side which had my heart rate racing everytime they toddled around the edge. I’m not sure the kids appreciated the view, or the moment, as much as we did but one day I’m sure they will when they look back at the pictures.

That’s some major sites done so we’re heading to catch some sunshine in Sedona and Scottsdale. Praying the girls play ball on the journey as being trapped in a car with them both arguing or crying is hell on Earth. L chooses to drive as she knows it’s harder being the children’s entertainer and negotiator in the passenger seat!

The Pox have arrived!

The Pox have arrived!

We’ve had a super relaxing couple of weeks. It’s been absolute bliss. The kids have been amazing and really well. We’ve enjoyed some relaxing ‘normal’ weeks at home enjoying the weather and getting our garden ready for the summer. It sounds a bit boring really but after how hectic we have been since January this chill time has been welcomed by all of us.

I managed to finish my personal description and goodwill message for the egg donation. It took me ages and my first draft L said was “too formal and like a cv”. She said I needed to make it “more like me and not some weirdo” (I love her honesty). Erm thanks! So it’s all submitted now and I’m happy with it. This means we are ready to start treatment next month. Excited with an equal measure of nervous too. I’m starting to get worried about the number of eggs they will retrieve and the implications for us all involved. If it’s less than 8 then I have to decide if I keep them or give them all to the recipient and try again another month for us. Which is what we would do as I really want to donate. An extra month for us is probably nothing compared to how long they may have been waiting. Trying to take it one day at a time as there are lots of different parts to the treatment.

Just when I thought we couldn’t get more chilled L and I went for massages which was a wedding gift from a friend. I’m usually put off with stuff like that as I can’t actually be bothered with the faff or making small talk with someone I don’t know. I am morphing slowly into L every single day! But after the last few months, I didn’t need much persuading to have an hour to myself where someone would massage all of my aching muscles. I’m so glad I did – it was the best massage I have ever had. I took my tired, weary, tense body to them and they nurtured it and gave it the tlc it needed then sent me on my way feeling awesome. I signed up for a subscription for a massage every month. L thought I was completely sucked in and was making fun of me until she went for her massage on Monday and loved it just as much. Ha! Told you so! Although I still spent time trying to justify the monthly cost then thought screw it; She’d spend the same amount on wine and pork scratchings and not even bat an eyelid!!

Following on from the heatwave at the weekend the normal monday blues were missing with only one more week until our familymoon road trip in the USA! Well that was until I saw 5 big, red, angry and evil spots shining on G’s back. The feckin pox has finally won and made its way contaminating our household a mere 7 days before we are meant to be jetting off. I knew we were having it too good. I spent Sunday packing teeny, tiny people’s holiday clothes all neat and folded nicely in the suitcases the kids were playing hide and seek in. FML I’ve completely jinxed it. I shouldve done an L – a rock up Roger – pack the night before and ask me a million times where things are that I may as well have packed her bloody stuff myself.

Well I don’t need to worry about that now unless ducklips gets the pox within the next 24 hours there’s no way they will both be scabbed and fit to fly by Sunday. So I am wishing G to scab over and I’m also wishing ducklips to get the spots pronto but the poor kid has got yet another chest infection so we had a trip to the doctors in quarantine. Seriously starting to think this trip is doomed.

I’ve spent the day googling every recipe under the sun to conquer this disease. The girls had an oatmeal bath with a generous helping of bicarbonate of soda and every potion going from the local chemist who clearly think i’m some sort of neurotic mother and/or their best customer as I’ve been in there 3 times today!!

If anybody has some pox healing tips send them my way…failing that, some recommendations for ‘holidays in Britain’ (giant eyeroll) might be my only hope!

Mother’s day

Mother’s day

Mother’s day is a celebration of us as Mummies but it is also bittersweet, especially for L, when this is only the second year without her own mam. It is a nice time to reflect on her and the influence she has had on our lives. She would be so proud of the wonderful Mammy her daughter has become and will certainly be smiling down at L.

This morning there were beautiful cards exchanged that we had both coordinated with the girls to scribble some sort of unreadable message inside with G insisting I draw around her feet several times as she likes the crayon tickling her little toes. So sweet. We were also spoilt with all of the crafty Mothers day gifts the girls made at nursery with their teachers making a special effort to make sure both ‘Mammy’ and ‘Mummy’ were recognised. It’s little gestures like this that make us smile with the thoughtfulness of people and give us hope that in the future our family will be ‘normal’ to everyone and there will be no negative situations that the girls have to deal with.

Bit like me getting asked if one of us celebrates on Mother’s day and one of us on Father’s day! The answer is no after the obligatory WTF stare face. No! We are two Mums. We are not pretending to be a Dad or anything else to that matter. Our girls only have two Mummies and will only have two Mummies. They will not know any different as it is their normal, our normal, and we don’t need to plug any socially induced gaps or expectations that we need to have a Father in their lives.

Today I’m so thankful for the journey we have already been on with this being our 4th Mother’s day and excited for our front row tickets we have to ride this roller coaster epic journey of parenthood.

As much as it’s hard work being a Mum and there are times when I moan, there are tears, feel like I’m pushed to the limits and can’t do it, it’s still the best job in the world. Although I crave peace, relaxing ME time, unsupervised toilet breaks and a full night’s sleep; seeing pictures of my two girls cuddling each other through the fence at nursery warms my heart and gives me magical sparkly feelings from my toes to my nose and I know that things are amazing. We must be doing something right or its a fluke!!

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Thankfully I have my partner in crime – L, the wonderful and more fun Mammy, here to share the load, albeit not always as equal shares during the night!! We are a dream team and today has been spent pretty relaxed enjoying our company apart from the mandatory bickering about who would be getting to nap with the kids this afternoon. Thankfully the girls did good and napped together so we managed a cheeky hour which we both needed. L is my support and my rock and when I’m pushed to the brink she’s there to pick up the pieces and vice versa. Our girls steal our last bit of cake/chocolate that we’re really looking forward to, our last ounce of energy, our privacy and our sleep in rather large quantities but all of that is nothing compared to how much they have stolen our hearts. ❤

 

I do.

I do.

Last week I married the love of my life in what was one of the best days I’ve ever lived.

L looked completely stunning. She took my breath away standing waiting for me faffing with my dress on the landing of the Guildhall in Windsor. She was shining like a new penny and had a beaming smile from ear to ear. I’d waited all my life for this moment.

That morning L asked if she could just turn up to the evening reception so it was great to see her for our ceremony! I was relieved as I knew how uncomfortable she felt about being centre stage but I saw the happiness in her eyes and felt my body relax. I couldn’t wait to say I do as I gripped her hand tightly walking down the aisle together.

We had our civil partnership 10 years ago in Newcastle and, since the law changed allowing us to marry, we had talked about it happening but I never really thought we would do it. There is always something else which comes up and since having the kids I always feel like there are better ways to spend our money. But we finally did it and what a great PARTY it was.

Little G Force and Ducklips were our beautiful flower girls who stole the show completely. They weren’t dainty and angelic, or quiet and compliant. They were the complete opposite,  shouting and moaning, disrupting the service. We absolutely loved it. They were exactly how they usually were and we embraced it with one child each placed on a hip whilst we were exchanging vows. This is our reality and I’m glad everyone got to see it that way.

Although Storm Doris made an appearance we still managed to get some great pictures outdoors and afterwards we celebrated with a wedding breakfast at the Harte and Garter Hotel, Windsor. They have a very elegant ballroom which fitted perfectly with our ideas of grandeur and couldn’t do more to make the day one to remember. It was refreshing to see how geared up they were for same-sex marriages compared to our experience looking at venues 10 years ago in Newcastle, when they only had brochures for heterosexual couples and referred only to ‘brides and grooms’.

There were so many parts to the day which made it awesome, from the piper to the Guard of Honour, my work colleagues did in their uniform, to our best woman performing a rap to the theme tune of ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ for her speech. It deservedly received a standing ovation from the guests. Then there was the shot bar in the evening which was well visited. I lost count after 9 although my bridesmaid was keeping tabs!! Both L and myself regretted that in the morning as we tried to enjoy our breakfast in the bridal suite but nothing could bring us down from cloud 9 after such an extraordinary day.

Until 3 days later. Why oh why did nobody warn me about how gutted and emotional I would be a few days later? It was like the baby blues but the wedding blues. Such sadness that it was all over and now normal life was about to begin again, which I had craved desperately through all of the stressful days leading up to it, and here I was doing the weekly shop at Tesco with only the faint glow of the spray tan and the shimmer of my manicured nails to convince me I hadn’t dreamt it.

One of the nursery teachers said “you’ll just have to have another baby”….ha ha! Yes she is right we will!!! I’m so excited for the rest of our lives together.

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