The Christening Day

The Christening Day

Our girls were christened last week. Now if you’d asked me a little over a year ago if this day would happen i’d say absolutely not.

See I went to my local catholic church. I plucked up the courage to meet with the priest to ask him to baptise our girls knowing I would have to come out and explain our family to him but I braved it because I wanted the girls to be baptised. A few days later he called and said he could baptise the children and both of our names would appear on the baptism certificate but I wasn’t prepared for what came next. I was told I was no longer allowed to receive communion at mass. What?! I was being excommunicated. I asked why and was told it’s because they know the relationship I am living in and it’s not accepted by the church. What a blow! I was shaking with upset and anger and I also felt humiliated that I had been scorned by the church.

After sleeping on it I knew there was no way I could accept these terms. When my girls are older and say “Mummy why aren’t you getting communion?” and I have to respond with “I’m not allowed to as the church don’t believe that your Mummies relationship is right”. I couldn’t do it. This is telling them that our lives are wrong. We are not sinners we are just a couple in love who have children they love. Nothing else.

Utterly devastated I wrote to the priest and the bishop. I didn’t expect to achieve much but I needed to get it off my chest. They were not being very good Christians. Do you think God really cares if someone is dating Arthur or Martha? No! All God wants is for people to be happy and to treat people well. Simples.  My mum even said they give communion to those convicted in prison. So they can be forgiven enough to receive communion but me, the average person who likes to help people whenever I can, who teaches my children right from wrong, who lives in a loving and committed relationship can not. L was angry. She isn’t religious but she supports me with my faith and I knew she was hurting because I was hurting.

So I’d given up hope that the girls would be baptised until I started going to a toddler group based at the local Church of England hall. I came here with a friend and really enjoyed it. People here were nice (not too nice where they were annoying and in your face) but the nice where they were friendly and kind and they also lost it with their kids from time to time; so normal folk. As a bonus they also had the best cake ever and endless amounts of tea which was needed as it was a post-nightshift-with-the-kids event.

I liked it there and the kids liked it there. The vicar would arrive with his guitar and we would all gather round and do a sing song and usually a story or prayer and the girls really enjoyed it. It left me thinking maybe this group of people were more inclusive and maybe more accepting. I did a bit of research on C of E as I was brought up in the Catholic faith. I didn’t know what they accepted and didn’t. I was over the moon to read they accept people to receive communion from other faiths as long as you are confirmed. It sounded too good to be true and I was still too hurt to explore it any further until one day I thought sod it I’ve got nothing to lose.

So I met with the vicar and spoke about what had happened, what my concerns were and how did our family fit within this church. I was blown away with the response. He was very understanding and sympathetic to what I’d been through. He gave me the opportunity to come and try a few services to see if I thought it was for my family and I. It was great. I was welcomed right from the very first day with a lovely smiley face inviting us in for drinks and pastries (as if L and I needed much more encouragement after that!).

It’s surpassed any expectations I had and has literally changed my life. I feel elated and accepted and my life is even richer than before. The benefit is now I can share all of this with my family and even L likes to come along to some of the events. I really feel that we have made good friends here already which I can see blossoming over the years to come.

So seeing my beautiful girls being christened was a dream come true. The service was beautiful with fantastic music played by a local family really personalising it all. The girls looked stunning and were so well behaved, especially when they were at the font, so I’m wondering if that was God’s magic and their Nana working on them from above or if they were just thinking what on earth is going on!!!

Who knows if they will choose to continue in their faith as they get older but we’ve given them the opportunity to do so if they wish and we will cherish the memories from this day forever. Sometimes things are just meant to be but I am I glad I chose not to compromise our family values to please a religion which wouldn’t accept me.

 

 

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My IVF Journey: The 2 Week Wait (week 1)

My IVF Journey: The 2 Week Wait (week 1)

Ahh so here it is we are now in the 2 week wait (2ww). That’s the time from transferring the embryo to when you will know if you are pregnant or not.

This is our 5th 2 week wait. So i’m well versed in what not to google, not testing early, and making sure I don’t have too much free time to think about it.

They managed to transfer one embryo on day 5. The embryologist did say that it was unlikely the other 3 were going to be suitable for freezing but they wouldn’t make that decision until the following day. I got upset as I would’ve liked a back up but let’s just hope this one works. They said it was really good and of course you only need one. The recipient also had an embryo transferred on the same day. Eek. How awesome is that?!

The transfer itself was really quick and done in the same room we had our insemination for the girls. We were so lucky to also have the same nurse (our magical baby making lucky charm) who was there when we were inseminated for G and the crazy youngest tiny human. Here’s hoping she brings as much luck this time too, oh and one that sleeps would also be smashing.

It’s really quick to transfer the embryo, a bit like having a smear test. Then that was that; I was now PUPO. Pregnant until proven otherwise. It takes about a day for the embryo to implant if successful and then it just needs to work it’s magic while I sit and countdown what feels like the longest two weeks of my life. Who am I kidding I don’t have the time to even sit and think about it that much. Thankfully.

I would’ve liked a relaxing afternoon but unfortunately L was called into work so I was left wrestling the kids at a birthday party. It was all going well until we ended up in A and E with G who I suspected had another pulled elbow. I was panicking on the way there knowing I wouldn’t be able to go in with her for an x-ray if it was needed. I could hear them saying “any chance you could be pregnant?” And me being all flustered and sounding like some deranged neurotic woman “erm actually there is since about 9am this morning”. Thankfully it was just a pulled elbow and it was popped back in and we were on our way within 45 minutes. The NHS rocks!

When I asked G if she wanted to go home she said “no party!” So we headed back to fill our faces with copious amounts of cake. Thank God for cake.

13 days until testing: Had a lovely family day planned at a festival and it was great to all be together. I’d had a weird dream last night and when I woke up I was panicking the treatment hadn’t worked. That lasted two minutes before one child jumped on my head so no more overthinking until I got the call from the embryologist. None of the embryos were going to be frozen and would be discarded. I felt myself choke up. I got upset. There were tears. L made it all better by bringing me back to reality, as always, talking about the options we do have and was adamant this little embryo was going to work. We’ve called it “Bryo”. You shouldn’t give things names should you? It gets you all attached and emotional.

11 days until testing: It’s the “am I Pregnant?” and “am I not pregnant?” which does your head in. In the space of an hour I’ve convinced myself both ways 3 times. Looking in the mirror constantly to see if my veins are becoming more prominent or my boobs are getting bigger. Please let them get bigger!

9 days until test: Not much to report. No symptoms. Tried not to Google or look on facebook groups about how quick people found out they were pregnant. I knew it would just confuse me. G is now potty trained (thank goodness) but she managed to do the worst poo in the potty which I had to clean out. I was heaving with the stench. I could be pregnant or it’s just that it’s absolutely vile and any human would be heaving! I googled about sense of smell being an early pregnancy sign. Idiot!

Thank God for the girls keeping me busy so I can’t sit there desperate to pee on a stick and get two lines. Hoping I don’t cave in and test early. 1 week to go.

Shit! I totally forgot to mention the picture is of Bryo just before they were put in. Isn’t science incredible.

My IVF Journey: Egg collection

My IVF Journey: Egg collection

After feeling hopeless things progressed pretty quick and my egg collection was scheduled. It looked as though I had about 7 follicles ready and there was hope some of the others would grow over the final 48 hours before the collection.

On egg collection day it was an early start as we had to be at the hospital for 7am. We got the girls sorted for the babysitter to drop them both at nursery and we made our way to the hospital feeling excited and a little bit nervous too.

You could see other hopeful couples in the reception area clearly here for collection with their little bag of IVF drugs. Now I felt really nervous.

After filling out all of the paperwork and going through the details I was taken down to theatre and under general anaesthetic they took the eggs out of my ovaries from the follicles I had grown. I was weirdly enjoying being knocked out and was hoping for a good sleep!! When I came round I felt pretty uncomfortable. I was in pain and I’ve learnt not to wait for it to settle. If there are drugs on offer I was taking them!

The main thing on my mind was how many eggs they collected and what the quality were like. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long as the Doctor saw me in recovery, he knew I was anxious and told me they got 7 good quality eggs. I wanted 8 so it was an equal split so now I had to decide if I was happy to offer 3 of the eggs to the recipient, which of course I was, and there was a tense wait to hear if the recipient would take the 3 eggs or if they would rather wait for another opportunity from another donor who may be able to offèr more eggs.

In the meantime it was a case of recovery for me and I must eat and pee before being discharged. I was elated. It was the first time I’ve had breakfast in bed for ages. It was like heaven. I even milked it a bit as I’d ordered the food before theatre and didn’t fancy what I’d ordered so I pulled the “I’m the patient” card and L gladly handed over her sausage sandwich and brought me several hot chocolates.

Thankfully the recipient wanted to go ahead with the 3 eggs. I was really pleased. I felt like I had accomplished something important. That’s my work done for them; they take the eggs and add their own sperm and hopefully they fertilise.

Before we left the hospital the embryologist came to tell us about the quality of the sperm from when they defrosted it this morning. I think they actually said “thawed” as I don’t think they shoved it in the microwave on low!

So just when you’ve got your head around one hurdle and feel happy and start to relax, you realise you’re about to embark on a new rollercoaster. Now it was time to wait overnight and hope my eggs fertilise with our donor sperm. 

Next day I was feeling pretty lousy. Supposedly L has read up on it and I shouldn’t be feeling that bad. Seriously?! Just what I needed to hear after having a needle inserted through the wall of my uterus into both of my ovaries several times. Yes! I’m feeling champion. This abdominal and back pain must be in my head or I’m a complete wimp! Perhaps L should give it a go to check??

Early that day the phone rang to update me. I sat on the floor to brace myself for the news. 4 out of 4 had fertilised. I was crying with joy. Then when I found out all 3 of the recipients eggs had fertilised as well I was on cloud 9. The discomfort I was feeling was more than worth it. We both had a great chance of success.

The next call was the following day to update me and advise if they would transfer the embryo then or give it a few more days to select the best one. I was expecting their call but typically with two kids the timing wasn’t great. I was sitting on the toilet with our chaotic youngest sitting on my knee as she wouldn’t be put down whilst I was watching G try to pee on the potty. Multi tasking at it’s finest. But I figured if we are successful our whole life will be even more of a juggling act so I may as well go with it. Anyway from what I could make out my embryos were still doing good. 2 were doing the best and they would wait and do a 5 day blastocyst transfer. That’s a good thing I’m told.

So now the next step is the agonising wait (3 sleeps) until we hope a little embryo can be put back into me and then can try and implant.

IUI was a doddle compared to IVF.

My IVF Journey : When things don’t go as planned.

My IVF Journey : When things don’t go as planned.

I hope I’m not the only one who has felt like this during treatment. See I went for a progress scan expecting that egg collection would be in two days. I was already feeling anxious as my last blood result was not what it should be. I got myself on the bed ready for the scan and as soon as they called out the sizes of the follicles I felt a huge wave of disappointment. There was hardly any progress over the last few days, so there was no way egg collection was going to happen just yet.

It was a rarity but I was on my own, not even a child in tow, as it was an early morning scan before work so I had nothing to distract me or no L to talk it over with or give me a much needed hug. I could’ve done with my girls running riot. That would’ve made me smile. When I saw the nurse I asked about the worst-case scenario and that would be if the blood test today showed no improvement then we may have to cancel this treatment cycle. I like to know worst-case and best-case scenario then I can get my head around what could happen in between to prepare myself. I always like to be prepared for all eventualities which is why L mocks me when we go anywhere as I have to pack a million things “just in case”. Mainly the “just in case” equates to something she will need but she doesn’t see it like that she thinks it just me being a faff.

I was gutted. I needed to call L but I still had to go collect my meds for the next two days. I held it together until I got into the car then I felt the tears coming. I felt like my body was failing me and I was confused as to why it wasn’t doing what they expected. Plus there were also the bigger implications thinking that none of the treatment would work, we wouldn’t make a third child, changes to the plan meant changes to nursery days I’d organised for the girls while I’ll be in hospital and changes to both of our work schedules, which was a headache, especially for L.

Then the heaviest weight of all….the recipient. I felt like I was letting her down. The poor woman would be sitting waiting to hear she had some eggs she can make a baby with. She would be taking medication to prepare her body to receive them and she would probably be sitting by the phone waiting to hear some news. It was all too much. Today was definitely not a good day for Starbucks or non-waterproof mascara.

Anyway I’d had my thinking time and an emotional rollercoaster, exaggerated by the effects of the hormones, all whilst driving to work. Thankfully, I was there all day so it took me away from it all until I got that phone call from the clinic. The one that made it all ok again. The one that made me relax and to believe again that it would work. My blood results were on track so it would just mean some more time on the meds and put off collection for a few more days. Phew! And breathe.

Now I’m in a rational state I know that it’s completely out of my control but I was overwhelmed with emotion and over thinking everything. I’m a worrier. Always have been and always will. Positive thinking. The next scan there WILL be progress.

The rollercoaster journey continues.

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…