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.

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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!

Pippa’s Weekly Wardrobe 

  
It appears Pippa has mastered the ‘looking wistfully into the distance’ pose for her daily photo shoots! Disappointingly this is just the direction of the TV… 

This week we’ve ventured into her ‘first size’ clothing only to discover that it probably won’t fit her much longer 😦 here are some of our favourites:

1. Daddy actually purchased these dungarees from Mothercare and at first I didn’t like them as they are padded like a duvet and have a rabbit on the front (I’m not too keen on motifs!). However once they were on I thought they were the cutest thing ever! The only downside was due to their super comfy padding, Pippa barely opened her eyes all day as she was so warm and cosy!

2. This is my favourite outfit at the moment and it’s actually just from Primark. Anything that isn’t pink gets a thumbs up from me and we even managed to coordinate our outfits this week, myself wearing a matching grey top and blue jeans (she’s going to hate me when she grows up!)

3. Another one of my favourites. Stripes just look good on anyone, especially babies. Although she was mistaken for a boy in this Next number, I don’t mind. 

4. Another Next outfit, a family friend bought Pippa this as she knew my dislike for pink and love of mint green baby stuff. This just shows things can still be girly without being pink with its cute little bows on the feet and chest and frills on the bum!

The First Month with a Newborn

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The fact this blog is 2 weeks late and Pippa is now 6 weeks old just explains 1) How quick time is going and 2) How little time I now have on my hands! Much of the first month has been a bit of a hazy, tired blur filled with many tears but I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’m now glad I’m finally coming out the other side.

Everyone tells you it will be hard and ‘nothing can prepare you’ and you think yeah yeah I know. Well, they’re right. Absolutely nothing can prepare you, it’s a tiredness you’ve never experienced and such a huge change to your life.

After an overnight labour and not sleeping a wink the following night on a ward of crying babies, by the time we got home I was already hugely sleep deprived. Pippa was then cluster feeding all night and day the following few nights; I remember one night not hitting the pillow until 6.30am. Luckily my body recovered extremely quickly. I barely had any bleeding or pain considering I had stitches and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within two weeks, so at least I didn’t have any of that to content with on top of everything else!

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I found that Pippa would only sleep when she was on my chest or in my arms but I was so terrified to fall asleep with her there in case something awful happened. However in my sleep deprived state it didn’t stop me waking up every time thinking she was still in my arms and I’d smothered her. Possibly the worst feeling to wake up to numerous times during the night! I still occasionally wake up wondering where she is but I’m much less panicked now and after inevitably falling asleep with her on my chest a few times now I know I wouldn’t smother her and I’m very conscious that she’s there.

Another large part of the first month were the visitors. I made the mistake early on of thinking ‘kill as many birds with one stone’ and invite everyone at once. That was definitely the wrong decision after 6 members of my family came in one go, resulting in me in floods of tears as they left. It was overwhelming enough without the addition of Pippa being passed around hundreds of people. On a couple of occasions we had to cancel visitors as I simply couldn’t handle it after a day of tears and sleep deprivation.

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What I was faced with majority of the first month!
The emotions (and the tears that come with them) are also something else! We were told about the baby blues so I was expecting them to kick in about day 3 and to be a bit emotional for a couple of days. But what I experienced was certainly not what I expected. I had overwhelming feelings of anxiety for at least 10 days that would fill me with fear about going out and even thinking about going out would leave me in tears. Our first trip out to Tesco’s on day 5 ended in tears before we’d even got through the entrance!

I felt extremely low, the lowest I’ve ever felt and found myself googling the symptoms of postnatal depression after one of my worst nights. This particular night I was hysterical all night and genuinely believed social services needed to be called to take Pippa away as I was obviously incapable of looking after her. The health visitor luckily picked up on this after I couldn’t stop crying in front of her, so she paid me a couple of extra visits in those first couple of weeks and her reassurance definitely helped.

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I thought I would never feel normal again but after 2 weeks and deciding to no longer breastfeed, a weight was lifted and it seemed my hormones had begun to settle. Luckily this happened just before Harry went back to work and we were able to get out with friends which showed me that normal life can continue and that nothing would happen to Pippa if we left the house!

I still had lots of wobbles, particularly in the first week without Harry but my mum has been amazing. Living just 5 minutes away she regularly pops in just to take Pippa off my hands for half an hour to let me express or she will help with cleaning and has provided a few dinners too! These little things become the most appreciated when you don’t have 5 minutes to yourself anymore!

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I’ve now nearly mastered the art of doing everything one handed, baby in the other, and showering in less than 5 minutes. Pippa and I have started to settle into a routine and we have a very active social life which makes the days fly by and Harry is home before I know it.

Hopefully things will continue to get easier, that’s what everyone tells you. However I should know by now that what people tell you and reality are somewhat different!

The Battle to Breastfeed

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I have always thought I would breastfeed, probably even before I was pregnant, so when I did become pregnant there was no doubt in my mind that this is what I would be doing. I follow lots of mummy bloggers on all the various social media channels and most champion breastfeeding and make it look very easy. I knew that it can be hard and painful in the first few days however I don’t think anyone actually ever does tell you the extent of how hard it can be and the pain you can go through. I know there are people out there who can breastfeed with no problems but for those who can’t (as I discovered in becoming one of them) it comes as a shock and with lots of feelings of guilt and failure.

The night Pippa was born the midwives came round and told me it was time to feed my baby. They assisted in positioning and getting her to latch on, which she did with relative ease and then they left me to it. It was painful and felt rather strange but I was happy that she was sucking away, getting the all-important colostrum, or so I thought. Then as she came off I noticed that actually, she hadn’t been latched on at all and was simply sucking on breast tissue, leaving me with a delightful love bite next to my nipple!

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Pippa preferring her hand to my breast…!
Over the next few hours and days I persisted with the constant on-demand feeding and although it was so painful I was safe in the knowledge that it would only last a few days and that when my milk came in it would get easier. By the time my milk came in which was about a week later, I was in agony. This was also when my baby blues were at their worst which I think was made a whole lot worse by the problems I was having breastfeeding. The constant feeding had left my poor nipples in a state and they were filled with cracks. My right nipple looked like it was about to fall off the crack was so deep and was now looking yellow and pussy whereas the left was bleeding.

It was discovered after a week that Pippa was tongue-tied which can result in a poor latch which can then subsequently result in very sore nipples and trouble feeding. Various midwives and health visitors came and assessed her latch but all agreed she was sucking fine, her latch was very good and my milk supply was in abundance. Where the problem lay was her actual feeding. She was very fussy, taking ages to latch and stay on the breast and would then pull off and cry and throw herself around, arching her back mid-feed then we would battle with each other, me trying to get her back on (fighting through the pain each time) and her pulling off. Most of the time, both of us were in tears, me from the sheer pain and frustration, making me physically heave sometimes and Pippa from I didn’t know what at the time.

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I miss this snuggling and bonding…
I would cry all day and night and dread the next feed, making me feel anxious all the time and scared to go out in case Pippa needed feeding. There was no way I could feed in public, the whole process was nothing like they show on the tv or in pictures! I would pretty much have to get topless and the both of us would be soaked in milk and tears! At one post-natal clinic, a woman with a baby not much older than Pippa just lifted her top, popped the baby on and ten minutes later he was off. Not a sound from either of them. This then resulted in me crying in the waiting room!

The nights were the worst, (the tiredness didn’t help), and I would regularly have a break down saying that I couldn’t do it anymore and on a couple of occasions Harry had to step in and say enough is enough and decided to give her a pre-mixed formula that we had bought for emergencies (these were a lifesaver!). But once morning came I would be feeling guilty and going through the whole breastfeeding battle again. Amongst all this I also developed mastitis in my left breast which added to the trauma!

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At exactly two weeks after her birth, after a horrendous night of tears on both myself and Pippa’s part, I made the final decision to stop breastfeeding. I felt so so guilty and upset about it (I still do now 2 weeks later…having a few tears just writing about it) but I decided I would express and mix with some formula feeds to ensure she was still getting some breast milk. The first time I expressed was just a bottle of bloody milk which I couldn’t face giving to Pippa, although she had been drinking it directly from my breast the day before! But once my breasts started to heal, expressing was much less painful and I was producing heaps of milk which also helped.

As much as I felt guilty, almost immediately I felt a massive weight had been lifted and the pressure was off. That same day we ventured out for the first time to get Pippa registered and I didn’t feel the anxiety I had been feeling before and even managed to feed her (with a bottle) in public. Something I never thought I would be able to do.

The next day we went and saw a tongue-tie specialist (slightly too late) and she taught me a much better way to get Pippa to latch, something I could have done with in the beginning. However as I was now no longer breastfeeding and Pippa’s latch and suck was good it was decided to leave her tongue as it is.

We have since discovered Pippa has silent reflux so feeding is still a massive challenge with her crying, pulling away and arching her back in pain – just as she did on my breast. However this time it’s just that bit easier as I’m not spraying milk across us both every time she falls off. I have tried four times since to get her to breastfeed again as I would love to go back to it as I still feel guilty about it daily and miss that bonding. However it is still a battle, mostly due to her reflux so until we get it under control I don’t think I will try again and I’m amazed that some women continue to breastfeed with a baby with reflux!

So I just wanted to write my breastfeeding story as it’s not very often you hear or read this side and I have another mummy friend who experienced the same issues as me so it can’t be that uncommon! The guilt is just horrible, even though I am continuing to feed her breastmilk I would love to exclusively breastfeed but it seems it’s not for everyone.

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!