Following on from my last post about our fertility treatment, actually finding out we were pregnant on both occasions was a huge surprise. Even more so after being told, quite categorically, that we couldn’t conceive and that Marcus’ count was actually dropping. The upside of such tragic news is that our sex life went from a chore back to fun and frolics. We could enjoy each other without wondering if this might be the time, or waiting for a specific day in the month to go for it. Talk about passion killer. You’re not meant to have sex at all whilst you are going through fertility treatment as your body is full of hormones and it could go horribly wrong if you accidentally conceived. So once we were over the hideous loss of our first embryo we really enjoyed the freedom.
We had considered paying for the next round privately through the clinic rather than wait six months. It would have been a bold move as we had at least two more funded attempts available. Some couples may only be allowed one or two free attempts depending on your local NHS trust.
A friend of mine recommended we go and see a lady called Katherine. She was one of the few people I had confided in, as she too was struggling to start her family. Now, we’ve never considered any sort of alternative medicine and I must make it clear that it may not work for everyone, but for us we had nothing to lose but time.
We did some research into Katherine and she practiced Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. At our first consultation I absolutely loved her immediately. She listened, understood and asked all the right questions. She was the most positive person we’d seen through the journey so far. She gave us some fantastic practical advice about diet and lifestyle and talked of other couples she had helped in worse situations who had gone on to conceive. She knew so much about the body and how it works, explaining far more than anyone else had.
She gave Marcus a bit of a reality check about his diet, which we did already know was pretty bad, but didn’t realise the extent of damage he was doing to his general health, let alone his swimmers. She concentrated on us individually and then we agreed I would have acupuncture and Marcus would drink a herbal tea. This tea would help with his general health and boosting his count.
The last thing she said was “give me 3 months”. This meant, by this time, delaying our next round of fertility treatment. I wasn’t keen on this, but after discussing it, and how positive she had been I called the clinic and made our excuses to hold off the next round by a month. Marcus’ magic tea arrived via the post and I was booked in for acupuncture every other week.
I loved my sessions with her. She was always so kind and interested in us. She was super positive about our situation, but I remained pretty sceptical. I used to end up looking like a lady bird after the appointments as she would put the acupuncture needles in my back and then a hot suction cup over the top. None of it was particularly painful. Occasionally some needles were a bit stingy, but not horrendous. She worked on my back due to a long standing back complaint I have, but she also put needles in to help with ovulation and my bodies general acceptance of trying to host a bubba. The whole treatment calmed me down dramatically and I basically stopped worrying altogether about conception really. For that period I knew we had 3 months and then it would be back to the clinic for treatment, so I didn’t really worry about conceiving in between time.
Marcus had to take the tea twice a day. It was absolutely disgusting according to him. He has a sensitive pallet at the best of times, so he used to add some sugar to make sure he could take it. I was really proud of him as he is super fussy. He even took it to work if he wasn’t coming home. We also had to work really hard on his diet as it was really poor. He basically ate once or twice a day. But that would be dinner time only. He never ate breakfast and if he ate at all in the day it would be fast food or chocolate bars (3 or 4 every day). When he got home, he would then have dinner, usually re-heated as he would get in at all different times, so it was rarely worth me waiting for him. And then he’d usually eat another “dinner” style portion before he got into bed. To make this even worse, he ate absolutely no vegetables or fruit. Maybe the occasional satsuma. He doesn’t even like potatoes unless they are chips. Not home made chips either! His diet consisted of rice, pasta, meat, eggs, bread and chocolate. He hates any packaged food.
I started making meat stews with blended veg so he didn’t know and I managed to persuade him to eat asparagus, mangetout and green beans. I still don’t really know how that happened! I also started making him a packed breakfast and lunch. Breakfast biscuits and a chicken roll with a piece of lettuce (but I’m sure he just threw the lettuce away), a couple of satsumas, banana and chocolate bar were also packed in his lunch box. He started to find having breakfast meant that he was actually hungry later in the day so was eating far better. Beforehand he’d be so busy at work he’d just not notice how hungry he was until the train home. He’d walk in the door and had to eat something immediately as he was starving by then. I had already tried to improve his diet previously. But he was just set in his ways and would NEVER accept trying anything new. Starting a family was important to him so he really embraced the change. Katherine also had a word with him about how serious stomach acid is for the lining of your gut without food to munch on, and he turned a huge foodie corner. He’s still fussy, but we can eat out at super posh restaurants or friends’ houses without having to pre check what’s on the menu.
The third month of alternative medicine came around and I was waiting for my cycle to start so I could call the clinic and get the next lot of drugs sent over to me. I was a few days late and didn’t think too much of it. It’s not completely unusual for my cycle to fluctuate longer or shorter days in between. That’s always extra annoying when you’re trying for a baby! In the beginning I’d get super excited about being 1 day late for my period and want to buy 20 pregnancy tests. Fortunately, Marcus always remained more realistic about that! After 5 days of being late, I told Marcus. He was super nonchalant about it all and brushed it off. I think he didn’t want to get my hopes up, but it was too late. I was excited, but also completely baffled by the concept that the tea had worked and in the agreed time frame. We agreed to do a test if I’d still not come on by day seven.
I bought some tests on the sixth late day and felt like I was building myself up for more disappointment again. On day seven, I woke up at 6am. Marcus was fast asleep, but I needed to pee so thought I’d just get it out of the way at last. The not knowing and the possibility was too much to bear a minute longer. I secretly peed on the stick and sat in the bathroom just staring as the line confirmed enough pee and then the bigger box gradually started to form a cross. A cross! I was fixed on the spot just staring as the lines were as dark as they could be shouting out “you’re pregnant”. My heart started to pound and I genuinely couldn’t believe it was actually a positive test. I went into the bedroom, woke Marcus up and said “baby, we made a baby”. He jumped out of bed like he’d woken up late for work and looked at the test. We both hugged and laughed and cried. He then pulled away and said we should do some more tests to be sure. I did another one as I’d only bought two, and it was the same. The cross appeared immediately. No need to wait the 3 minutes or question the lines clarity. It was amazing and exciting. We agreed to only tell our immediately family until after the 12 week risky window has passed. That time feels like forever!!
Pregnancy with Isabella was so precious. It’s very different the second time around! I’ll talk about that another time. Speaking of which, finding out about Sienna baking in the oven was an even bigger shock.
Isabella was six months old. We’d had our first ever Christmas with a baby and we were still adjusting to being new parents. This didn’t stop us finding time to have sexi time together. Issey’s nursery floor, oddly became a good spot as she was still sleeping in our room, followed by the sofa, stairs and shower. Neither of us were ever able to get it on with her sleeping in the room and only really used the nursery to change her bum and store her endless baby stuff/clothes at that point.
Christmas was a bit crazy. We had three days back to back of family coming over for full Crimbo roasts. I was mega proud of my roast skills and thankful for the dishwasher. It was lovely, and so nice making such a thing of it that year having our little Isabella with us. We went mental with presents for her. Absolutely not worth it whatsoever as she had no idea what the heck was going on, but who cares if we spoilt her, we were blessed to have her in our lives.
I hadn’t really been making a note of my ladies weeks after they came back 5 weeks post partum. Cheers.
January was tough as Issey was teething like mad and permanently seemed unwell. I was exhausted 24/7. She was the worst at sleeping at the best of times. I had no I idea that sleep deprivation would turn me into Mr Hyde. I must have had a massive sign on my head saying “don’t mess with me”. Apologies to those who felt my bite. I thought I would take to motherhood as a duck to water, but I felt more like the Titanic. I’m no longer afraid to share this with others, but there were times I hated having a baby. I would be so stressed with all the crying and not knowing what to do, etc. I loved her so much, but this wasn’t how I had imagined it to be. I would see yummy mummies making it look effortless and wonder how they do it, fair play to them.
Anyway, I digress, by the end of the month I was pretty sure I’d not actually had a period. That had done me a favour as I felt as bad as Issey did, thanks to sleep deprivation and catching a flu type thing. I joked about it with Marcus and boy did we giggle about the prospect of being pregnant, but we just put it down to me being a new stressed out mumma. Despite desperately wanting to have a baby and being the luckiest person alive to have managed it in the end, I was not winning at parenting. Turns out I’m just not built for babies. I love children, just not the baby stage. I’ll go on about that another time. The thought of having another baby was one I wasn’t completely sold on, let alone having two so close in age!
By early Feb we kinda knew it was really weird, I’d not had a period and now I was questioning if I’d even had one in Dec as we’d been so busy. We decided to do a pregnancy test if I hadn’t come on by the coming weekend. I bought three pregnancy tests on the Fri from the local chemist as I was in there again buying Calpol. I opted for a digital one which gives you an idea of how many weeks pregnant you are, as I genuinely couldn’t remember when my last ladies’ week had been by then. And then two back-up normal tests for any clarification we might need. I’m sure the woman at the chemist must have thought I was mental as I slid them across the till with a tiny Issey on my hip. I felt mental that’s for sure.
Marcus was at work and it was late afternoon, but Isabella was having a rare nap and the tests were screaming at me from their paper bag. I thought I’d just have a little peak at the digital one in readiness for the morning. What that actually meant was I ended up peeing on it as I needed a wee and have absolutely no will power, obviously. I blinked and it had registered “+3 weeks”. I sat on the toilet and just stared at it for ages with my hand over my mouth. I absolutely could not believe it. I was also livid at how rubbish a time estimate that was. +3 weeks. What does that even mean, maybe six!! Pfft. Waste of time unless you’re using it for an “early test”. I did the other two to be sure and thought I better update Daddy. I took a photo of the tests and sent it to Marcus. He rang me immediately and was questioning how on earth it had happened. In a loving, excited, jokey sort of manly way….or at least I think so. We were both in massive shock and wondering what the heck we were going to do. When he got home from work we started to try and get our heads around it all and think about my work, the house and generally how we’d survive.
It was as amazing as it was scary! We’re so so lucky and Sienna is an absolute miracle, but that didn’t take away from us both being fully aware it was about to get crazy kind of tough in our house. Sleep deprived pregnant mummy of a six month old was about to be challenging, let alone having two under two! I was absolutely petrified about how I would cope as I didn’t really feel like I was coping at motherhood with one. I guess I just had to carry on “winging it” and accepting help from my mum and mother in law. That is one thing I would change; with Isabella I wanted to do everything myself and that’s where I put myself under too much stress. I have a wonderful extended family and there are lots of external help/groups available I just never asked or accepted the help. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and took on becoming a new mummy as my new career in life. Mine, not anyone else’s.
We have survived not only being pregnant whilst already having a baby to care for 24/7 (Issey didn’t really get the concept of sleeping at night until she was about 16 months old) but also now the first eight months of having two gorgeous girls under two. Boy has it been a roller-coaster and I still stand by not feeling like I’m built for babies. The older they are both getting the easier it is becoming. Or maybe I’ve just started adjusting to having a noisy house and generally at least one displeased child constantly throughout the day.