One Step Backwards, Two Steps Forwards

A ‘tadpole’ has become a new addition to Pippa’s toy collection after our visit to the fertility clinic!

Since my last post unfortunately we’ve taken a bit of a step backwards. However it turns out that setback has meant we are now actually further on into knowing the reasons why.

In September our appointment for the NHS community gynecology came through, and it just so happened to be on the same day that we were going to the Herts & Essex Fertility Center open evening.

We went in expecting to explain our situation and hopefully be referred for the lap & dye procedure however once we had explained our situation the consultant decided to do a scan on me. It was really quite painful and I was obviously wincing at one point to which he replied “yes, I can see why this is so painful for you” and showed me a huge dark mass on the screen. That was my left ovary, engulfed in a cyst. He explained that it was called an endometrium (or chocolate cyst – don’t google that on a full stomach) and is due to endometriosis. He then showed me other sites of endometriosis in my uterus and other cysts on my other ovary from polycystic ovary syndrome.

I said that I have been having pain for over a year on my left side (remember when I called 111 back in August 2017?!) and was always told it was just ovulation pain and he wasn’t surprised I was in so much pain! I’d also been having extremely painful periods lately, to the point of almost passing out and throwing up whilst picking Pippa up from school.

I was so shocked and also annoyed as I’d had a scan 5 months earlier where I was told everything was fine, although she struggled to find my left ovary (along with the scan in September 2017) as it was obviously hiding behind the cyst – something she should have spotted, particularly as we paid privately for this. I was also given a blood test to test for PCOS and this came back fine so I was told I didn’t have that. When I explained this to the consultant after the scan, he said that a blood test can’t tell if you have it or not, it’s from scans and internal investigations. So what a waste of time and money that test was!

To top off the news, he also said with my endometriosis and PCOS, combined with H’s motility that he would “never say never” but our chances of conceiving naturally were “very low”. He then said I would need to be referred on for a laparoscopy to remove the cysts and endometriosis and in the meantime we should start saving for IVF.

I was very upset when we came out but actually it meant that we went into the open evening at the IVF clinic that night, now knowing what the issues were and that we were now likely to go down this route. The evening itself was so informative and we got a tour of the clinic and saw all the labs and a full step by step slideshow of the whole IVF process.

I was set for a long wait for the surgery but I got a phone call on my birthday asking if I could go in the following week as there had been a cancellation. I’d been worrying about the wait and how much pain I’d been in, hoping it would be soon so I jumped at the chance to take the slot and I’m now having the laparoscopy later this week. I’m surprisingly looking forward to it just to be pain free and know that any cysts/endo that need to be removed will be, and we can move onto the next stage once I’ve recovered.

So here’s to going forwards.

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Trying for Number Two – Part 2

Pippa turns 3!

Four months later and we are still not much further with our quest for number two. In this time I have continued to see my private gynaecologist on a number of occasions and had various tests. My bloods for progesterone were repeated and came back ok in that it was likely I ovulate and a scan of my uterus showed my lining had improved which is something I had been really working hard to do with lots of supplements and diet changes.

The only problem now was my late ovulation and short luteal phase which basically means after I ovulate I start spotting 8 days later and my next cycle starts 10 days later meaning my progesterone drops very quickly after ovulation. Considering an egg doesn’t implant until about 8-10 days past ovulation, mine don’t really have much of a chance.

The next step was then for H to undergo tests and myself to have a laparoscopy and dye test to check that my tubes weren’t blocked. As we are using medical cover for this, our budget is not very big so we both went to our own GP’s with this. After some convincing, H persuaded his GP to allow him his tests on the NHS and my private gynaecologist wrote directly to my GP to ask for me to be transferred to her patient list on the NHS for the procedure. I had to chase this myself some weeks later and the GP has now sent a request to the community gynaecologist so we are awaiting the outcome of this.

In the meantime we discovered there are problems on both mine and H’s side and IVF is really the only solution. So currently we have an appointment with Herts & Essex Fertility clinic next month to look at our options and find out a bit more about the processes. To add to this, we are edging ever closer to our wedding which is in 10 months’ time, (planned with the assumption we would have completed our family by the time we got married) so timing isn’t perfect, however here’s to hoping a new family member will be there in my tummy instead.

Trying For Number Two

It’s been almost 9 months since my last blog post…oops! Time has flown by on one hand, but on the other it has gone very slow. I could have grown a baby in that time, but sadly that’s not the case, but not for want of trying.

In fact we are now entering our tenth month of ‘trying for number two’ and although I never thought it would be straightforward (it took us 6 months with Pippa), we’ve entered a few obstacles along the way.

Once you have your first baby, they barely have to hit their first birthday before the “are you going to have another one?” Questions start. By the time Pippa was one I still only felt like I’d just had a baby and thought that maybe by the time she was 3 I’d be able to cope with another but actually as time went on I felt that maybe 2.5 years would be just right. However, by now I was on methotrexate injections for my arthritis which I then needed to come off of, and be off of for six months, before we could even start trying. So in January 2017 I came off of my methotrexate. Of course I was also back on the pill so I continued this until June as the risks to a pregnancy and baby whilst methotrexate is still in your system are very high. Then July came around and we were all set to go.

By mid-August I had been in so much pain for weeks (sharp stabbing pains) in my side that one night it got so bad I called 111. I was sent for scans and discovered that I had ‘multiple uterine cysts’ but the GP couldn’t tell me anything about them so I went to see a consultant gynecologist privately. He was able to advise that my pain was from my ovaries trying to ovulate (unsuccessfully) and the cysts were due to the uterine lining not growing and shedding as it should and once I started ovulating normally again it should be fine. He put me on two cycles of Clomid and off I went.

Just before I was due to take the clomid, my smear test came back with grade 3 severe dyskaryosis which meant I had to then have a colposcopy and LLETZ treatment to remove the pre-cancerous cells. Just another bump in the road!

When I then got round to taking the clomid, although the clomid made me ovulate, my cycles were still all over the place and key things were still wrong so I took matters into my own hands. I was taking various vitamins and supplements, made diet changes, eating certain foods at certain times in my cycle, started having acupuncture and took up yoga again. I also went back to my GP, armed with all my cycle info and she too was a bit confused so sent me for blood tests, although warning me they won’t do anything until it has been a year.

Well my blood results showed that I have low progesterone, something I thought may be the issue. Besides making you ovulate, it also builds up your lining for the egg to implant and keeps it alive until the placenta takes over. The lack of progesterone means that even if I did conceive, I would likely miscarry.

I’ve now been scheduled to have another blood test during my next cycle but until then have been researching what I can be doing to increase progesterone naturally. Our food bill has increased significantly with all the organic food and meat I’m now only eating as the addition of estrogen and other hormones that are injected into many animals to produce meat and diary products is then making its way into me. Something I don’t need!

I also have an appointment today with a private gynecologist specialising in fertility in the hope she can advise how to get my progesterone back up again as soon as possible instead of wasting time over the next couple of months waiting for the NHS GP to even consider doing anything.

I know I’m very lucky to even have one child and I can’t imagine the heartache some people go through before they can have their family. However once you have one, the visions of growing and completing your family are just as strong. We’d ‘decided’ a 2.5 – 3 year age gap would be ideal but as we pass that, I now find myself getting nervous about the age gap between Pippa and her little brother or sister growing as each month passes and we’d love to make her a big sister. Such a silly thing, but something you just assume you’ll be able to decide!

I’m not going to share this post, but I thought I would document it here for anyone that may stumble across it and I’ll update on progesterone gate as and when I can!

38 Weeks – Welcome to the World Baby G!

 38 weeks pregnant baby 
At 38+4 weeks on the 19th August we welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Pippa Rae Gillan into the world and here she is!

  

My birth journey started at 8am on the 18th when we arrived at the hospital for my induction. I was surprisingly calm and I think more excited than nervous and just ready for whatever would be thrown at me. I was also greeted by an old school friend who was a senior midwife and she came for a long chat with me to put me at ease! 

As my platelets had come back low again from the blood tests the previous week, I had to have some more and wait for the results before they could proceed. If they continued to be below 100 (I think they were around the 80 mark) there were questions over what they could and couldn’t do regarding cesarean and epidural. By 3pm the results were back and although they weren’t above 100 the consultant had decided it was safe to go ahead and the propess pessary was inserted. 

I started to feel quite crampy quite soon after and as we took a walk around the hospital grounds I could feel pain in my back too. I was in my own private room as they wanted to keep a close eye on baby so I was on the monitor a lot of the time. It showed I was having regular tightenings but they weren’t painful at this point. By 11pm Harry headed home to get some rest and I attempted to get some too. I still felt quite crampy so couldn’t really sleep and was constantly being monitored and then the cramps started coming in waves and getting more and more painful. At this point (3am) I called Harry to come back in thinking things were on the move…ha! One midwife asked me to rate my pain from 1-10 and i was sure it was at 8…needless to say she didn’t say anything in response!

Once Harry arrived I put on the TENS machine and my hypnobirthing music and was managing to breathe through the contractions. At 5am I had a show and lost my mucus plug along with the pessary which was all pretty vile! I was then assessed and found to be 2cm dilated so could be wheeled through to the delivery room!

Once there, one of the midwives ran me a bath whilst coaching me to breathe through the contractions. This was great and really relaxed me. It was then decided at about 7am that they would break my waters so I moved onto the gas and air – amazing! I pretty much laughed my way through the whole procedure! H was even able to see the baby’s head at this point which I thought was amazing, I’m not sure he agreed!

This seemed to move things along pretty quickly and before long the contractions were getting very intense and I wouldn’t move far from the gas and air! It was at this point I realised that my number 8 on the pain scale earlier was actually about a 2! It even got to the point where I felt I needed to push which worried me but the midwives assured me that it was because the baby was so low. 

The next stage of the induction was then the drip however I was advised by numerous people to have an epidural before they put the drip in so I refused it until the epidural arrived! It was suprisingly painless and I was soon ‘loving life’ (direct quote there!). It actually only worked on one side of my body but having half my body in pain was much better than the whole thing. 

Time seemed to go by super quick once the epidural and drip were in and I was then assessed at 4pm and told I was fully dilated so we would begin pushing at 5. I couldn’t believe it and we counted down the minutes until 5pm. I was still feeling contractions so was able to feel when I needed to push which was good however the baby’s heart rate kept dropping when I was pushing so the midwives kept running off to consult the more senior staff. After half an hour it was decided intervention was needed and a man walked in and started setting up some equipment without any explanation! I got really worried but eventually he explained it was a ventouse, which although I didn’t really want, was a better option than forceps! 

It turns out baby’s head was just there but kept dipping back in when I pushed so it didn’t take much suction on the ventouse and the head was out. I was then told to wait for the next contraction and the body would be  out. At this point we heard a tiny cry! I couldn’t believe it! They then said not to wait and just push, next thing I knew she was on my chest! (After H told me she was a boy, mistaking her umbilical cord for something else!) I couldn’t stop crying, to the point the midwife had to ask if I was ok and whenever I heard her cry for the rest of the evening I would burst into tears. 

  
She weighed a tiny 5lb 10oz and was so perfect. I was then wheeled up to the postnatal ward where I spent the night next to a very quiet and peaceful Pippa… If only that continued!

Packing The Baby Bag

storksak bobby changing bag

As the induction was kind of sprung on us very last minute, packing both mine and the baby’s bag has also been a bit last minute. I hadn’t even ordered a baby changing bag until a couple of weeks ago as I simply hadn’t found anything I liked! In the end I settled for the Storksak Bobby in Black. I hadn’t actually seen it in real life until it arrived but it’s just what I was looking for, not too big (some of them are beasts!) and really lightweight. I had previously ordered the Babybeau Sophia but it was so heavy and didn’t seem very practical so that went straight back. H didn’t approve either as it pretty much just looked like a handbag. We had also looked at the PacaPod Mirano as we quite liked that it came with removable pods, however it was really big and I felt like I was carrying a suitcase around, so much to H’s disappointment I discarded that one also.

The Bobby does however come with one removable, insulated pod for keeping food cool/bottles warm etc. so we aren’t missing out on that fun factor and it also comes with a removable changing mat and lots of inside and outside pockets. Although my own handbag is one big hole of ‘stuff’, I’m hoping to be a bit more organised when it comes to the baby’s bag! Having packed for a few night’s stay at the hospital, the bag is currently very full (and the pod is being used for my own hospital snacks!) but as I won’t usually be taking so much with me, I think it should be the perfect size.

I’ve packed three baby outfits as a starting point, as H can always nip home and get more if we need them. As baby is scheduled to be pretty small, two of the outfits I have picked for him/her are in ‘tiny baby’ but unfortunately this is all I have in tiny baby so the other is newborn.

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The first outfit is an all white sleepsuit with raised white stars from Boots. I think they have one of the best ranges for gender neutral and i’ve bought most of our clothing from there. It comes with a matching hat and with it I have just paired a white muslin, white bodysuit and white and grey starry bib.

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The second is also from boots and came as part of a newborn set. As I mentioned, we bought a lot of this range so I was able to match everything very well! I’m not too keen on the bib (i’m not a fan of wording and mummy and daddy type things) but as it all matched, it’s been packed.

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Finally is The White Company sleepsuit I bought very early on in the pregnancy with grey stars all over. I also bought the matching hat and my friend bought me the little bib. I have then teamed it with a white and grey starry muslin and bodysuit.

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The rest of the bag consists of lots of nappies, nappy cream (although I am unsure whether I am going to use it at every change and maybe just use it when it has nappy rash), talcum powder, cotton wool and also water wipes. I want to keep chemicals away from the baby’s skin as much as possible at first so I will be using warm water and cotton wool for nappy changing but when this is harder, at night for example, I have bought WaterWipes. They are made of 99.9% water with no chemicals so are just like using water and cotton wool and all natural. I have also included a gorgeously soft blanket from George at Asda and an elephant comforter from The White Company, both of which I received at my baby shower.

it’s crazy to think the next time these come out they will be on Baby G!

37 Weeks

  
So we are still without baby and didn’t get induced this week but I will fill you in on that later. 

The week started with a tour around the labour and delivery ward and birth centre at the hospital. As you will have probably seen from my birth plan, I had been hoping for a water birth in the birth centre rather than the labour ward so I asked if this was still possible with an induction and she pretty much said no which made me a bit teary! However after seeing everything, there wasn’t much difference between the labour ward and birth centre at all so I felt much better. It was also so clean and quiet which was reassuring and I saw the wards where I would be if I was to be induced. 

For the rest of the weekend, as it was potentially our last as a couple, H and I made the most of it with a couple of lunches, brunches and dinners! 

My first week off on maternity leave has sped by, mainly gearing up for Thursday’s D-day decision. I’ve now bought all I need and our bags are fully packed and ready to go. I went to the hospital on Monday so they could monitor the baby’s movements and heart rate and all was fine. I was actually told I have a very active baby! I also enjoyed a lovely lunch with H’s sister on Tuesday as she is a teacher so is off for the summer – I can definitely see it becoming a regular thing once she’s off on maternity leave too with both the bubas!   

I didn’t sleep Wednesday night, simply from the mix of emotions for Thursday’s results. The scan went fine and the fluid had actually increased from 5.9cm (5cm is considered the emergency, get baby out now kind of reaction!) to 7.5cm so I thought they would likely leave baby and keep monitoring. We then had to wait an hour and a half to see the consultant who took us into a room and did an internal examination to check my waters hadn’t actually broken without me noticing! They hadn’t, and she proceeded to tell us that induction would be best due to the safety of the baby, especially with it also measuring pretty small meaning the placenta could be failing. She talked us through the process which didn’t sound all that great and my water birth has certainly gone out the window, but as long as baby is safe I don’t mind. So we are now booked in for the induction on 8am next Tuesday!! I will be 38 and a half weeks by then so it isn’t a concern and It’s actually kind of nice knowing a date to prepare towards! 

Either way, my body is definitely preparing for the big day, I’m quite tired and have had to take a couple of naps in the day here and there and I’ve been getting false labour contractions as well as horrible shooting pains in my cervix. Last night the pressure of the baby and the pains meant I could only sit bouncing on my birthing ball otherwise I was yelping around the place! At one point I even found myself googling ‘feel like baby is going to fall out’ haha! I’ve also started on the raspberry leaf tea and H bought me a pineapple which I’ll need to get stuck into before Tuesday!