And then there were 5….

It is with great pleasure, that I introduce you to our newest family member – little Margaret Edith. Maggie, for short.

Born by elective C-section mid last week, weighing  a respectable 3.59kg, and completing our family just perfectly.

Maggie and I were fortunate enough to spend some time in hospital after her birth, living in a rather wonderful ‘newborn’ bubble. We were cared for very well by the doctors and midwives at John James Hospital, and were sure to make the most of our one-on-one time before we headed home.

And as I’m not all that great at sitting still, I must say that the enforced ‘downtime’ was good, and most likely just what I needed. Good for succumbing to naps (when I’d normally be looking around for a household chore to complete instead), good for saying yes to cups of tea and freshly made muffins when they were offered by the morning tea lady, and good for taking long, hot showers when Maggie was in a slumber of her own. And newborns sure do love to sleep….well during the day, at least.

So, although I was desperate to get home after Maggie was born, the time in hospital was undoubtedly perfect for the healing process. Both physically,  and also emotionally, as various pregnancy hormones began to leave my body and new ones took their place.

The hospital time was also wonderful for the bonding process. Maggie and I  spent many moments just snuggling and talking (well I talked, she ‘responded’ with those adorable little newborn gurgles and squeaks). Not to mention soaking up that heavenly newborn smell.

And, once again, I am in awe at just how amazing the human body is.  I can’t quite believe that we made this perfect little human, and that she was inside me only a week ago. Now here she is, earthside – with a whole wonderful world of opportunity and adventure laid in front of her.

Yes, I did say those pregnancy hormones were in full swing…

I recently mentioned that my pregnancy felt like it went for a long time. And while I still stand by that, having Maggie here with us makes it feel as though the pregnancy also went by in no time at all. It’s that age old adage of ‘we feel like you have always been here’ – which I know sounds rather corny, but looking down at her peaceful sleeping face, feels really true.

This being my 3rd C-section, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from a recovery perspective. Not unlike my earlier procedures, getting up and moving as soon as I could (which on this occasion was the morning after the afternoon procedure) worked wonders in helping with my pain levels. In fact, by the time I left hospital I was not taking any pain medication at all.

This time had a few differences, however, that I had not anticipated. I reacted to the anaesthetic during the procedure, and spent most of the first half trying not to vomit or faint (or both) when the nausea kicked in and my heart rate dropped making me dizzy and wanting to go to sleep. The anaesthetist managed to stabilise things just as Maggie was delivered, though, so I was able to get a cuddle not long after.

The other difference was that I opted for a spinal morphine (instead of a PCA drip) to control post-operative pain. And while it did the job from a pain management perspective beautifully, my body was itchy for almost 24 hours.  And I don’t mean  itchy, but unbearably ‘oh my god I am going to go insane and scratch my entire body off’ itchy for the better part of a day. IV ‘anti-itch’ medication barely took the edge off, and it was only the passage of time that eventually saw this annoying symptom subside. Me + spinal morphine = never, ever again.

But on the plus side, a change in hospital policy meant that unlike after my earlier C-sections, both my husband and Maggie could come to recovery with me. I could also have skin on skin contact with her, and give her her first feed, before we headed back to the ward. THIS was the best change in hospital policy that one could ask for! I also got to see my placenta this time around (I’m sure that is not for everyone…) and talk about fascinating!

And as for her bigger sisters?? Well they have been wonderful!

I thought it might take some time for Josie, in particular,  to get used to having another little person in the house, but she seems to have adapted in no time at all. She asks to see Maggie as soon as she wakes up in the morning, and has been full of cuddles and heat strokes for her little sister.

Charlotte has also taken everything in her stride – and loves to cuddle Maggie whenever she gets the chance. She is definitely my little helper at the moment!

And just like that – so begins our new life as a family of FIVE. Feeling ever so blessed as we do!

Third Pregnancy: Third Trimester Reflections

In some ways I feel like this pregnancy has been a long one. The relentless nausea and fatigue of the first trimester probably has a lot to do with it.

But in other ways, I am a little surprised that we just hit the 38 + week mark. Yes, I’ve officially made it to full term and, once again, I am pretty damn amazed at the wonder that is the human body.  Sure, I may not *fall* pregnant easily, but this ol’ body of mine has now grown and carried three beautiful babies to full term, all within the space of 5 years, which feels rather wonderful in itself.

So how has the third trimester treated me this third time around?

(25 weeks, 30 weeks, 36 weeks)

I’m feeling large, despite most people saying that I look ‘small’ , and I’m pretty sure I’m in the waddle-phase. But I am grateful that I have been able to keep up with my daily walks, something I wasn’t all that consistent with in my previous pregnancies,  and I am hopeful that the regular exercise will assist with the recovery phase.

I’m not sure whether it is due to the regular walking, or perhaps the baby is just sitting differently, but I am pleased to report that I have suffered none of the pelvic pain (SPD) that plagued me throughout my pregnancy with Little J. Over the last few weeks I’ve had some pretty intense shooting pains down the back of my upper leg / hip / area, but I think that might have something to do with the baby pressing on a particular nerve? Sure, they are painful and will stop me in my tracks for a moment (and elicit a curse word or two), but they are nowhere near as frustrating as the daily SPD pain.

(36 weeks – round 1, 2, and 3. Not much difference really – except for the bags under my eyes!!)

Perhaps the biggest shock of the third trimester was being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes – something I never considered would be an issue.  I’ve eaten healthier this pregnancy than in my others, and managed to walk around 5km each day, even with the nausea of the first trimester.  But, despite this,  it seems my body likes to dump a little glucose into my system overnight while I am sleeping, so I continue to have high fasting levels when I wake up – and no amount of diet watching or exercise was working to correct it. As a result? I’ve now been introduced to the world of endocrinology, the national diabetes scheme and blood-glucose monitors. I’m having insulin before bed at night, which is not too bad, and my doctors tell me everything should correct itself once the baby is born. Fingers crossed!

Symptoms aside, I am most definitely at the stage where I just want our newest family member to be here. I finished up at work a week or so ago, which has been nice. I was tempted to stay a little longer, but my family encouraged me to finish up and have a couple weeks “off” before the baby arrives. And I am pretty grateful for that encouragement (if not for the fact I no longer have to try and squeeze into the last few corporate work dresses that fit…)

I’m not all that great at sitting still, though, so being at home has meant that the nesting urge has been in full swing. I finally pulled all our baby things out of storage, washed a bunch of clothes, reorganised my linen cupboard and pantry, tackled the office filing pile, and can’t help but find more things to add to my ‘to do’ list.

The freezer is also stocked with lots of ready-made meals that I have been preparing over the last few weeks or so. Casseroles, stews, pulled pork, lasagne, pasta sauce – you name it, its probably in there. I figure these will come in handy while I am in hospital, and also for the first week or so when  I get home. So much for cleaning out the freezer recently.

Although there is, if I’m honest, no great rush to get everything done for unlike after my other pregnancies, I’ve decided to take a little extra time off work this time around. I’ll still be helping with bookkeeping for my husband’s business, but I’m not due back into the office until the New Year. My longest time off work since I was 17!

Another big focus recently has been spending as much time with the girls before their little sister arrives (not only because we are acutely aware that getting out and about with 3 kids of varying ages will take some getting used to!).  We’ve taken lots of walks, headed up to Corin Forest for some snow play, and generally just been making the most of these last few weeks as a family of 4.

It’s been lovely to have some one-on-one time with each of the girls too. Little J and I had a great morning at the playground while her big sister was at school, then it was off to the toy shop – stopping for milk and cookies along the way. I’m not 100% convinced that she really understands what is going on – although her daycare teachers mentioned she told them that the baby is coming soon – so maybe she understands more than I give her credit for…

Miss C and I also took advantage of the school holidays and had a girl’s day out at the movies, followed by lunch. She seems to be very aware that home life is about to change, but as long as the baby doesn’t play with her ‘beanie-boos’ I’m pretty sure she will cope just fine. In fact, I have no doubt she will be a huge help in the coming weeks.

Overall, this third pregnancy has been…well…different. Not only because of all the physical reasons I’ve already spoken about, but also because of the  emotional ones too. Life with active  5 and 2 year olds meant that I had very little time to really think about being pregnant at all. There were still the hours to be billed at work, books to be audited,  the never-ending loads of washing to be done and meals to be prepared… yes pre-pregnancy life went on as usual – just with the addition of a basketball belly to contend with when packing up the kids toys at the end of the day! Don’t get me wrong, I am so very grateful to have carried three beautiful babies to full term , I just don’t feel that I have had any pregnancy ‘glow’ this third time round.

And at 38+ weeks, I can safely say that we are more than ready to meet our newest little one!! Now if we could only decide on a name….

Third Pregnancy – Reflections at the halfway mark

Our THIRD pregnancy.

It still feels rather surreal to be saying it, and boy do we feel blessed.

If you follow me on Instagram – you would have seen our big announcement recently. For our little family of four is set to become a family of five in July this year. And while I was super organised in keeping a diary during my first pregnancy, and somewhat organised throughout my second, well let’s just say I’ve been less than organised this time around.

My previous diary entries have been so wonderful to look back on, so now seems like the perfect time to take a step back and reflect on this pregnancy too.  There’s always a fine-line between share and overshare, but I always appreciate having a little record to look back on in years to come. So here goes.

I’m currently 22 weeks pregnant, and we have known since I was 4 weeks. The downside of IVF being that you find out early, really early.

Yes, like J, this little bean is also an IVF gift.

We had always seen 3 children in our future, but weren’t too sure how realistic our dream was. We went through a failed IVF attempt early last year, which only made the reality of the situation all too clear. Maternal age was weighing heavily on my mind (I’m a dinosaur, I know…) and I always had a set “end-point” to when we would say goodbye to the prospect of adding a new member to our family. But with the help of our amazing doctor, some crazy growth-hormone drugs and other concoctions to dent our bank account, in September last year we received the amazing news.

We were pregnant.

Weeks 4 to 13

I’d like to say that the first trimester flew, but honestly, it dragged.

(4 weeks: We were just about to go into the circus when we got the ‘good news’ phonecall)

Finding out so early is always a curse, particularly when you can’t really share your news, and you have to act ‘normal’. And then the dreaded morning sickness hit. Or in my case, and as was the case with my pregnancy with J, my “morning” sickness hit around lunchtime and continued until bed time.

(6 weeks pregnant: At a friend’s wedding. The nausea had just started, but it was all smiles for the camera!)

The nausea generally peaked right on school pick up time, and left me feeling drained, nauseous and generally unwell.  Salads made me gag, cheese sandwiches were my staple, and the nausea was only manageable if I was consuming carbs.

(10 weeks: I took the girls down to Melbourne for my nephew’s 1st birthday. And while the drive and evenings were a struggle, it was wonderful to share our news with my family  in person).

A saving grace was the distraction of Christmas. Although there were none of the usual celebratory champagne or cocktails for me, it was great to have some time off work and take little adventures with our family (not to mention, naps).

(Smiling for the camera to get our Christmas picture, and if my memory serves me correct, eating a bag of chips and going to bed as soon as we got home). 

Thankfully my mornings were relatively symptom free, however, and I was still able to fit in my daily walk. And I coped with work and household chores by trying to fit in as much as I could  before the nausea came on around lunch (after which I was pretty much useless). And while the symptoms were not wanted, they were reassuring, and we got beautiful results at our growth scans and other tests.

On that note, we were surprised to learn that since my last pregnancies, they have introduced a new genetic test – the side benefit being that you can find out gender really early. Like 10 weeks early. And right on the 10-week mark, we found out we were welcoming another little girl into our family. Miss C was less than impressed at first (she really wanted a brother) but has now warmed to the idea and can’t wait to meet her newest little sister!

I think J is still a little too young to really understand what is going on, although if I ask her where the baby is, she points to my tummy which is pretty adorable.

Weeks 14 to 20

Somehow I managed to bumble through the first 8 weeks then as quickly as the nausea arrived, it subsided. One day it was there, the next it was gone. And I must say I was pretty pleased about that. My usual salads regained their appeal, and I could actually do things during the afternoon without feeling like death warmed up.

Physically, I felt great during this period.  None of the headaches or pelvic pain that I had experienced with J, and I loved being able to keep active with my morning walks.

(16 weeks: Celebrating Australia Day with a hike up to Booroomba Rocks)

I was, and still am, battling with bone-tiring fatigue. I’m heading to bed quite early (although, let’s be honest , I generally do), although there are some days where I can barely keep my eyes open!  I put it down to being a few years older, working and having two other little ones to run around after all day. So yeah – I’ve pretty much accepted that it is the new normal – albeit begrudgingly.

As for the belly – well – it grows (as does everything else!). Faster with each pregnancy it seems, and if I’m honest – I’m not really loving it. I know its all part of the process, but experiencing growth and slimdown with 3 pregnancies in 5 years – and a bulging wardrobe to cater for multiple sizes – well its not as exciting as the first time around that’s for sure!

(9 weeks, 14 weeks, 19 weeks)

So there you have it – a little snippet into the last 20 weeks! Here’s hoping the next half flies, as we are all looking forward to meeting our newest family member and beginning our life as a family of five.

Now if we could only decide on a name….

Welcome to the world, little Josephine

As I type this post, I have my gorgeous 6 day-old daughter asleep on my chest. Her divine newborn aroma is ever-strong, and I can’t help but feel nostalgic, and reflective, not only about the last week – but also about the last year. For this time last year, we were in the throes of IVF. Yet now I sit here cuddling my second daughter. How so much can change…and how so much we have to be thankful for. You might recall that C was born via emergency C section – after my body apparently didn’t get the ‘memo’ that dilation and engagement might assist in the whole childbirth thing. With that history in mind, my OB felt that a natural birth was very unlikely – so we opted to schedule a C-section this time around. IMG_2639 (One last bump pic…) So bright and early last Wednesday, we headed to the Hospital knowing that we would be meeting our second child in a matter of hours. We were checked in, gowned up, and not too long later – whisked away to theatre. I had a spinal – which in itself was rather scary – and I was somewhat nervous about surgery generally knowing that my iron levels and blood pressure were both quite low. But aside from a moment of low blood pressure 5 minutes in, and little J hiding out inside to the extent my doc needed to use forceps to get her out (?!) the procedure went well. And when they dropped that curtain – and I heard that amazing newborn cry – well its hard not to get teary just thinking about it. There, before us, was our second daughter. Little Josephine Elizabeth – all 3.59kg of her (almost a pound heavier than Charlotte!!).  IMG_2662 And she is simply perfect! IMG_2737 When pregnant, I just had a feeling that we were having another girl. So that part didn’t surprise me at all. But what did surprise me, was how much bigger she was than C, and how fair her hair was. IMG_5332  IMG_2733 (C on the left / J on the right) But what they both share, however, is a hearty appetite, and I am so pleased to report that J took to feeding like a champion! As for her big sister, well I wish I had captured the moment she first met J on video. For she excitedly rushed in the room, eyes bright and full of awe, and promptly asked if “broccoli had been born yet”.  IMG_2676  IMG_2679 Yes, my darling, she certainly has. Since then, she has offered nothing but cuddles and kisses,  happily introducing her little sister to anyone that we meet. And I could not be more proud. IMG_2815 As for my recovery, I was again blessed with a speedy one. The hardest part was being ‘attached to the bed’ for the initial 24 hours after surgery (oh and the morphine-induced uncontrollable vomiting in the first few hours), but once I was able to get up and get moving, the pain lessened each and every day. So much so that since leaving the hospital I have been off all pain medication and moving freely.  I’m happy to share more about my experience with C-sections if you’d like me to – but I can save that for another day? Otherwise – I feel as if I have so much more to say about the transition from 1 child to 2, and this latest pregnancy in general, so I will no doubt post more on both at some stage. But for now, I plan on relishing these first few ‘sleepy’ newborn weeks for they really do pass by all too fast (and I am acutely aware that the ‘witching hours’ will soon be upon us…) Thankyou also to all of you that followed this first week via Instagram and passed on your best wishes. You sure know how to make a girl smile Smile

Second Pregnancy – Third Trimester Reflections

As we get down to the ‘business’ end of this pregnancy, I figured it would be lovely to take a step back and reflect on the third trimester. For this baby could come any time now, and the countdown is officially on. You can catch up on my other pregnancy posts here:

Apologies in advance for all the gratuitous bump pics…. Mind In some ways, this pregnancy has flown by. In other way – I feel as if we have been on the fertility / IVF / pregnancy rollercoaster for all too long. I look back at photos from the last 2 years – and can pretty much tell you where we were up to in every single one. 2v9 - Copy If I’m to be honest, this pregnancy was not as ‘easy’ as my first. Physically, it was harder, which meant ‘mentally’ it felt harder too. But I’ve consciously taken a step back to reflect on all the wonderful aspects. The fact that I have, thus far, had another low risk pregnancy with no complications – now that is something to be grateful for. But the tiredness…….oh my god the tiredness! Body I’ll let the photos do the talking… monthsfivetonine - Copy Months 5 to 9….quite a change! Similar to my last pregnancy – things in the ‘bump growth’ department seem to have slowed down in the third trimester. Baby BBB is still growing beautifully – however – and we are predicting a bub of similar size to Charlotte. My weight gain was more this pregnancy (my insatiable hunger for carbs having a lot to do with it)  although it seems to have distributed itself a little differently this time around.  IMG_4703 36 (1st v 2nd pregnancy – 36 weeks) I don’t feel as if I have been blessed with the pregnancy glow though, more like a ‘I’m-so-tired-and-hungry’ shimmer… IMG_2539 From 19 weeks I’ve had daily braxton hicks, and lots of pelvic pain – the latter being a symptom I never really had during my first pregnancy. Actually, some days it is so bad that I can barely walk – while other days its not there at all. I saw a physio and got a stability belt which has helped during those bad days, as has trying to keep as active as possible (walking, swimming etc). IMG_2983 Other than that, this baby is a wriggler and a shaker, and I’ve been blessed to feel lots and lots of kicks and movement from very early on. Soul I finished up at work just shy of 37 weeks, with encouragement from Mr BBB, and it was honestly a great (forced) decision. Charlotte and I have been able to spend some fantastic time together – with daily walks, milkshake dates and other such adventures! IMG_2897 IMG_2833IMG_2972IMG_3009 Actually – it is probably C’s impending change from only child to big sister that I am most conscious of as this pregnancy draws to a close. She still affectionately refers to the baby as ‘Broccoli’ (and also tells me she has a baby in her tummy called ‘Rebecca Rabbit’) but whether she has a real understanding that Broccoli will soon be a real-live baby at home – I’m not so sure. But, she is a smart kid who never ceases to amaze me with her adaptability and comprehension – so she will no doubt make an awesome big sister when the time comes! So the third trimester, in summary: How I felt? Sore and tired. Super excited to meet the newest addition to our family in the not too distant future. Super anxious that we still haven’t decided on a name. What I missed? Being able to stand up without feeling dizzy. Oh and the the usual suspects – running, biking and wine….. Symptoms? See above. Pelvic pain, fatigue and dizziness. Oh and I am anaemic….awesome. Cravings?  I’m still on the carb band-wagon. And wishing it was more of a salad bandwagon. Highlights? Lots and lots of beautiful kicks. Oh – and giving the nursery a little makeover. IMG_0004 So there you have it – my final reflections post in what has been a very blessed second pregnancy (again…sincere apologies for all the shameless bump pics!) Needless to say – we can’t wait to meet the newest addition to our family sometime soon!

2nd pregnancy – Second Trimester Reflections

Where did we leave off?  That’s right – it was my First Trimester Reflections – and the horrible all-day nausea that came along with it. Thankfully, my Second Trimester proved to be a far more enjoyable few months. And here I am at the start of the third…. How on earth did that happen?!?! Mind On the one hand, I feel as if I have been pregnant for ages. Then, on the other, it seems to be slipping by at warp speed. Working and looking after a toddler certainly makes the days pass by pretty quickly, although I am starting to feel impatient and “ready” to welcome the newest member into our family. PicMonkey Collage The last few months have seen some pretty crazy hormones – although a reduction in nausea has meant I am back to exercising! Yep – if the first trimester was all about survival – this second trimester has been all about moving! And boy is my mind grateful for it. Nothing too strenuous, but regular swims, walks and body balance has left me feeling in a far better headspace. I simply cannot wait to return to running and biking though…. Body What can I say? It grows. More and more each day. I’ve officially banned the scale – and am ignoring all ‘recommended weight gain’ charts (those damn charts). If I’m honest, my constant cravings for carbs and other delicious delights hasn’t exactly helped things in that respect though…. Gluttony aside, there is certainly truth to the idea that you ‘pop’ much quicker in your subsequent pregnancies than your first. For I seem to be looking about 3 weeks further along when compared with my first pregnancy – and maternity clothes are well and truly taking pride of place in my wardrobe. On that note – I have to give a big shout-out to Even of Eden Maternity for very kindly sending me a maternity clothes “care package” – including these great khaki shorts that I have been living in lately… IMG_1573  IMG_1603‘’ I can’t say I experienced any surges in energy these last few months – and am still falling into bed early and sleeping soundly each night. I had a period of intense headaches, and a lot more hip/pelvis/back pain than I remember from last time – although swimming seems to be helping that.  And, yes, I am acutely aware that this could be one long Summer I am facing…. Soul The nostalgia continues in full swing – as I reflect on the changes that are about to occur – the most wonderful of which being that Miss C will become big sister! She seems to have a good understanding that a little baby will be joining us soon (“after Santa”) and has affectionately named the baby “broccoli”. Or Pedro. IMG_0025  IMG_0027 (Sporting another Eve of Eden maternity top that will no doubt come in handy when nursing…) We are keeping the baby’s gender a surprise this time, although my instinct tells me we are having another little girl (*Insert complete panic that I have NO idea re names*) I have a few names that I like, but none that I love, which is a little worrying…. So – the second trimester, in summary: How I felt? Not nauseous! What I missed? Running, vino and being able to get off the couch gracefully. Symptoms? Headaches, pelvis/back/hip pain, braxton hicks. Cravings?  Carbs, carbs and more carbs. It’s relentless. Highlights? Kicks, kicks and more kicks! Yes Baby BBB is a mover and a shaker. Let the countdown to baby’s birthday officially begin! —- PS – For those of you “with child” (or soon to be “with child”) who are looking for some maternity goodies  – head over to www.maternitysale.com.au – where you can enter BAKEBIKE2 at the checkout to receive $10 off any purchase over $60 (one use per customer and expires 31st Jan 2015). And a big “thankyou” to Eve of Eden for offering such a lovely deal to my readers.

2nd pregnancy – First Trimester Reflections

You’ll have to forgive me, for sharing our big news a few months ago, then going silent. I can’t say it was intentional…the days and weeks just seem to be flying by so fast at the moment. IMG_0681 In fact, I officially finished the first trimester 6 weeks ago (?!) yet am only now sitting down to put thoughts on paper. I loved having my first pregnancy diaries to look back on, and compare with, so feel it would be nice to do an abridged version this time around too. So here it is. Mind After undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, the news that we were actually, truly, pregnant, was simply amazing. But having a highly monitored cycle – means that we found out really early. Like 4 weeks early.  And we were realistic enough to know that a positive pregnancy test did not necessarily mean the pregnancy would progress. IMG_0116 The countdown to the all-important scan at 7 weeks was a killer. I  stopped running, and despite my best efforts to stay busy, it was hard not to get my hopes up. And plan the upcoming months. Thankfully, THANKFULLY, we walked out of that first scan with big smiles – after being our little jelly bean’s heart beating nice and strong, and measuring spot on. Big sigh of relief, indeed. We broke the news to our families – who were well aware of our IVF attempts – and, as you can imagine, they were all thrilled to bits.  C even outed me to her daycare teachers when she declared, with gusto, that “Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy”. Yes…a 2 year old is not the best secret keeper its turns out! The next big milestone was the 13 week scan, at which the various other screening tests also took place. We again received fantastic results – and finally – we felt that we could really get excited. And breathe. Body In some ways this pregnancy has been very similar to my first. I stacked on weight early (yes it seems as soon as I get that positive pregnancy test I go up a dress size, or two), and I started experiencing headaches. But in more many ways, it has been incredibly different. This time I’ve been suffering from horrible all-day nausea – which started at 6 weeks and continued to the end of the first trimester. The nausea seemed to get worse as the day went on, peaking just before bed time – only easing while I was eating – and  returning shortly after I stopped. Carbs, carbs and more carbs were my friend, and the desire to cook disappeared completely.  This was all very new to me, as when pregnant with Charlotte, I pretty much functioned as normal throughout the first trimester. IMG_0501 (11 weeks pregnant, and feeling oh so sick) I also had grand plans to run or at least continuing exercising throughout this pregnancy, but I stopped around 7 weeks. The all-consuming nausea seriously knocked me around, and it took all the effort I had to put on a straight face, squeeze into clothes that weren’t tracksuit pants, and keep up appearances at work. All while running around after a toddler of course. Bed times came earlier and earlier, and I headed to bed at the same time as C most nights. Yes, 7.30pm. Soul When pregnant with Charlotte, it was all I could think about. This time, if I’m honest, I frequently forget that I’m pregnant! Sure I catch a glimpse of my expanding body in the mirror and am quickly reminded, but truthfully, there are moments in the day when I simply just forget. But, despite this, I am so very excited about the prospect of our family becoming a family of 4. I can’t wait for C to be a big sister – a role I have no doubt she will take on with enthusiasm.  And I am constantly overwhelmed with feelings of gratefulness – and awe – as to the wonders of modern medicine. So the first trimester, in summary: How I felt? Tired and sick. Horribly sick. What I missed? Running, no feeling sick, vino, rare steak and brie cheese. Symptoms? Nausea and headaches. The seemingly dreaded duo. Cravings?  Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Preferably something I didn’t have to cook. Yes I think ate more takeaway during the first trimester than I have in the last 5 years! Highlights? The wonderful wonderful news that we were pregnant, and seeing our little one grow and grow! But although it was a rather rough first 13 weeks, I am pleased to report that things have improved since then. All to be covered when I recap the second trimester!

Our pre-pregnancy journey

Thankyou all for your lovely and warm well-wishes following our recent announcement. I never intended to drop a bombshell and then go offline for the week,  but life got ‘busy’ (and the fogginess of the first trimester lingers) making it hard to find a spare moment and, at times,  a clear head. But before I perhaps get into more details of the first trimester, I need to take a step back. For I feel there is more to our story than a pretty pregnancy announcement. Followers of this blog will know that we have endured infertility in the past, and I am sad to say that we were not granted an easy ‘get pregnant’ journey this time around either.  And while it is often easier to stay silent on issues such as these, I know too many people who share a similar story to keep it hidden. It took us many years to fall pregnant with Charlotte, but we knew we wanted more than one child – if that was at all possible. And knowing we were not getting any younger, we sought the assistance of a fertility specialist just before C’s first birthday. Unfortunately, however, it was not a good fit. Almost 12 months later – having undergone multiple IUIs, medicated cycles and finally, an IVF cycle, we were left with more questions than answers and a bank balance that had taken a big hit. My emotions were running high, and our life was consumed with timings, tests and bad results.  All while trying to keep a sense of normalcy at work, and in our home life. Thank god for running – and the little moments of peace it offered. IMG_9932 So we made the decision to change specialists – and fertility clinics – and immediately the differences were apparent. Like chalk and cheese, really. We now had a doctor that listened, and access to nurses that were empathetic and understanding. A treatment team that was sensitive. Sensible.  Our doctor was well-schooled in recent medical studies and developments. He was encouraging, and thorough. IMG_8105 And we didn’t mess around.  As soon as we could, we were back on the IVF-wagon. And as I am sure many of you are aware, this involved daily hormone injections, blood tests and scans – and with it went any ‘mystery’ of conception. Despite high medication dosages, however, we had a pretty poor response during the cycle. We also had a poor outcome during the ‘lab’ phase, which was simply heartbreaking.  I think I might have alluded to it before. IMG_7095 At the end of it all – we had one little egg that was available for transfer – but a hormone spike that would see us take a break for a few months to give ourselves the best chance of success. For if this didn’t work – it was back to square 1. Back to another full medicated IVF cycle – and something we weren’t looking forward to. I don’t know whether it was the benefit of having our new specialist on board, or whether it was ‘simply’ our time, but two weeks after the transfer, the most gruelling and loooooong 2 weeks, we received the most joyous news. We were pregnant. I will never forget this day. When I knew the call would come at some point in the afternoon, and I jumped every time my phone rang. When we were standing in a spice shop, and I threw the phone at Mr BBB to answer because I just…couldn’t.  When I saw the relief and happiness in his eyes when he was told the good news. But happy news aside, we were realistic about risks and possibilities. So even having successfully navigated through a tough 18 months of fertility treatment, we knew we still had (and still have!) a long road ahead of us. For while we try to remain optimistic and positive – we have learned to take nothing for granted. And thus the seemingly long first trimester began…. To be continued.

Week 5 – Time for smiles

Today Charlotte is 5 weeks old – where has the time gone? IMG_6156 - Copy From here – I think I will only do one more weekly update (next week), then change to a monthly update. Although, to be honest, it has been rather wonderful having the opportunity to properly reflect on the week that has just past, and document it for the future. Charlotte This week I have really felt like Charlotte is changing from a ‘newborn’ to a ‘baby’. Her cries are becoming louder and deeper, and she seems to generally be taking things in a lot more. Often I will catch her just looking up at me or Mr BBB, with an intense look in her eyes, and I can only wonder what she is thinking? IMG_6114 We have also seen the start of little smiles, that light up her whole face and simultaneously melt my heart time and time again. IMG_6139 (Now if only I could properly capture them on camera…). I don’t know whether I have mentioned it before, but Charlotte’s wake up routine (if she has been in a deep sleep) is one of the cutest and funniest things I have ever seen. IMG_6066 IMG_6075IMG_6069 IMG_6074IMG_6070 We joke that she takes after Mr BBB in this regard (who is not really a morning person), with her 5 minutes of stretches, frowns and funny faces when being roused from sleep. While Charlotte is definitely a baby that loves cuddles, I think she also likes to sometimes have a little time to herself. If she is fed, changed, not tired, cuddled (ie. all the “usual” culprits) – but still grizzling, I have found that if I put her down on her activity mat, she will quite often settle. IMG_6016 Perhaps it is the distraction of the colours, or the noises, but she will generally remain happy on her mat for a while, chatting to herself and kicking her legs. IMG_6017 A very useful tool at meal time Smile Feeding Having conquered the breast pump a few weeks ago, we decided to test out Charlotte with a bottle this week. While she had no interest in it the first night, we changed to a different teat the next night and she must have approved as she took the bottle without any hesitation. IMG_6117 While I plan on breastfeeding for a quite a while, it is great to know that we have another option if I am not here. I think it is also lovely that Mr BBB can feed her, and get to experience her ‘milk coma’ eyes as well. Sleeping What can I say. IMG_6037 For the most part, Charlotte is a good sleeper. However she still has some nights (usually in the evenings) of inconsolable crying – when nothing seems to work and she gets herself into such a state that she can’t get to sleep. Last night was one such night, and we only managed to settle her by taking her out for a walk in the dark at 9pm! But then other times (like during our first trip to the rugby – see below) – she doesn’t cry in the evenings at all. I wish I knew the magic answer lol. We have attempted to introduce a dummy to see if that helps calm Charlotte during her unsettled times (given she seems to enjoy sucking for comfort). Our attempts have been rather unsuccessful thus far  though, as she spits it out as soon as we take our hand away, and has shown no real interest in taking the dummy at all. IMG_6161 Luckily, however, once Charlotte gets through the unsettled evening periods, she is a pretty good sleeper overnight – waking only once or twice for a feed – then falling back to sleep with no fuss at all. And for that we are incredibly grateful! Achievements and milestones This week saw a couple firsts for Charlotte, including her first trip to the rugby (where she was more than happy to hang out in the carrier, and the noise of the stadium didn’t seem to bother her at all!) IMG_6126 She also had her first ‘photo-shoot’ – owing to a gift voucher for a photo session my friends gave me when she was born. And, although she cried for a lot of the session, the couple photos I have seen so far are rather gorgeous. I can’t wait for the rest to arrive in a few weeks time. Me – the physical and emotional It was also a week of firsts for me this week, with my first post baby run, and also my first post-baby bike ride. IMG_6092  IMG_6127 Both were…..awesome! In all their ‘lungs of fire’ glory, that is. And, when combined with my daily walks with Charlotte, I feel as if I had a good active week, which has done wonders for my mental health too. IMG_6128 When I scaled back to light exercise only throughout my pregnancy (I wrote about my reasons for this here), I often wondered how I would feel about exercise once I was no longer pregnant. Had I just been exercising out of obligation all these years (and therefore would not really be interested in getting back into it)? Or were those long runs and rides something that I truly enjoyed? I am pleased to report that it is most certainly the latter. Getting out for a run, and back on the bike this week, confirmed to me that I genuinely missed my runs and rides, and the active hobbies  I pursued so often in the past. I really did love my ride yesterday (even if it was only for 40 minutes), returning home refreshed and invigorated. Fitting in exercise sessions is certainly going to be a lot more challenging now that time is lacking, but here’s hoping that I can get a couple sessions in each week. I am no longer taking free time for granted, that’s for sure!