Thursday, 25 April 2013

How to survive the 12 week wait

Ok, so it is not really a 12 week wait as the first 2 weeks of that you weren’t pregnant and the second 2 you did not know you were pregnant. It’s actually only an 8 week wait. But still… that’s long enough! Almost 2 months!
In the UK as standard, you get your first scan at 12/13 weeks of pregnancy.  Before that the only indisputable indication that you are pregnant is a positive home pregnancy test.  Betas and early scans are not given out on the NHS as standard although can be requested privately.
The wait until the 12 week scan can be nerve wracking and stressful, especially if you have suffered from infertility or a previous miscarriage.  You can find yourself overanalysing every possible symptom or lack of them.  I have therefore put together a 12 week wait survival guide of reassuring facts and tips to try and help you through those early weeks…

  1. Try to keep busy. The more time you spend dwelling (or Googling), the more anxious you will end up making yourself.
  2. Symptoms come and go. It is perfectly normal for some days for you feel less nauseous than others, or for your breasts to be less tender. It does not necessarily mean there is a problem. Look at your symptoms over a weekly basis rather than a day by day basis.
  3. Stay away from online pregnancy forums. It is a known fact that most people who post on forums, do so because they have a problem and are looking for advice. People rarely post to say how well their pregnancy is going or that they have had a healthy birth.  They therefore often paint a very bleak picture of pregnancy.
  4. The odds are in your favour. Although the fact 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage is a worrying statistic, it also means that 80% of pregnancies do not!  The odds are lower the further along in your pregnancy you are and younger you are.
  5. Talk to close friends and family. At this early stage in pregnancy you may want to keep your news quiet for as long as possible. You do not however need to suffer in silence.  Confide in a few close friends and/or family.  They will be able to help and reassure you, and hopefully take your mind off things!
  6. If all else fails, do not be afraid to book an early scan privately.  In the UK most cost between £90 and £100.  This is supposed to be an enjoyable time and it will help to ease your anxieties.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

6 Week Pregnant (again)

It was not really going to be a question of if I was going to book and early scan, but when...

Extensive research during my pregnancy with C told me that an embryos heart usually starts beating around the 5-6 week mark and if things look good at this point then the chances of miscarriage are significantly reduced.  Often a miscarriage at 8,9,10 actually showed the embryo stopped growing at 6 weeks.  I therefore needed this scan for reassurance. 

The day of the scan I would be 6 week and 4 days pregnant.  As the date came closer I was reassured by the fact I was feeling increasingly nauseus.

Soon after we arrived we were invited into the consultants office and I made myself comfortable on the table.  Surprisingly it was going to be an abdominal scan.... I had not expected that to clear enough at this early stage.  The scan showed that me uterus was currently tilting backwards and although the gestational sac was clear to see, it was not possible to see what, if anything, was going on inside.  We therefore swapped to an internal scan that I had been anticipating origninally.  This showed the yolk sac and as he moved the wand around I could then see the embryo, my baby!  I watched the screen closely, searching for the heartbeat.... and there it was, a rhythmic flickering on the screen. I exhaled a bit in relief.  The consultant then turned on the speakers. It's been over a year since i've heard a baby's heartbeat but there was no mistaking that wonderful sound. I beamed at my husband and he smiled back.

The baby measured bang on target for 6 weeks 4 days and everything looked great!  I knew the next 6 weeks waiting until the 12 week scan would still feel like an eternity however for now I was content.

Cheeky Wipes

Last weekend we attended the Baby and Toddler Show at Bluewater and after watching Cheeky Wipes demo their reusable baby wipes we decided to purchase a Cheeky Baby Wipes All-In-One Kit.  

The cost of the kit on the day was £30. Although a substantial upfront cost, we were going through £3 packs of disposable baby wipes at lightning speed therefore I knew it would not be long until we got our money’s worth.

The All-In-One kit contains:

25 - Cloth baby wipes, 15 cm x 15 cm
1 - Fresh Baby Wipes container
1 - Mucky Baby Wipes container - with mesh bag insert
1 - Fresh Baby Wipes waterproof out and about travel bag
1 - Mucky Baby Wipes waterproof out and about travel bag - with mesh bag insert
1 - 10 ml bottle of Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil
1 - 10 ml bottle of Tea Tree & Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oil

On opening the packaging when we arrived home I was initially slightly disappointed that all the cloth wipes were white as the demonstration we viewed at the Baby and Toddler Show had included a variety of fun coloured cloth wipes.  

Undeterred, I set about preparing the wipes for use.

First I needed to fill the Fresh Baby Wipes container with water to the fill line (approx. 3cm). Unfortunately there appeared to be 2 fill lines and I wasn’t sure which to use.  I therefore just estimated the 3cm (which seemed to be somewhere between the 2 lines) and hoped for the best.

I then added a few drops of Lavender & Chamomile Essential Oil.  This smelled lovely!

Next I filled the Mucky Baby Wipes container with water to the fill line. This was easier as there was only one line and added a few drops of Tea Tree & Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oil which contains antibacterial properties.  I then added the mesh bag insert.

I placed the pile of cloth wipes in the Fresh container and closed the lid. I then rotated the container so that all the cloth wipes were well covered.

We were then ready to go.  I have always been a bit sceptical about reusable items as to me they seem to often take a lot of time and effort to maintain.  Luckily however, setting up the Cheeky Wipes had been easy.

The benefits of the cloth wipes over disposable wipes were evident from their first use that lunchtime. They were so much more absorbent and the textured surface meant they picked up more food remains.  Instead of 5 disposable wipes to clean one small child, I used 1 cloth wipe.  After use I then just placed it in the Mucky Baby Wipes container.

Initially I had been planning on using the wipes just for food. I don’t have a poo phobia but I do prefer to be able to dispose of all elements of a dirty nappy in the bin and forget about it.  Reusable nappies and me would never have got along. Having said that the next dirty nappy we had, I realised that we were out of disposable baby wipes. I then had a dilemma whether to walk upstairs to get a new packet or use the Cheeky Wipes that were in the next room….

Laziness prevailed and I went for the Cheeky Wipes.  I wiped the worst off using the nappy then used the cloth wipe to finish up and cleanse. Afterwards the wipe went straight in the Mucky Wipes container with minimal fuss. I was impressed! Both with myself for being brave, and with the effectiveness of the wipes.

Cheeky Wipes recommend that the wipes are washed every other day.  This isn’t a problem as I SHOULD be doing a clothes wash every other day anyway. In fact this would be a good incentive to ensure the clothes washing did get done.  To wash the wipes you just remove the mesh bag insert from inside the Mucky Wipes Container, pull the drawstring tight and pop the bag in the washing machine. They then can be washed on a normal wash with other clothing.  I definitely need to practice getting the bag into washing machine without dripping water all over the kitchen floor!

Once finished there is no need to dry the wipes, they then just go straight into the Fresh Wipes Container and you begin again.

As yet I have not used either of the travel pouches. Dealing with reusable items while out and about is a level of “faff” I am not quite ready to deal with just yet however once I get into the swing of using them regularly at home this will be the logical next step.

All in all I am pretty impressed with the ease of using Cheeky Wipes at home and I am sure they are going to save me a fortune!!!

I have not been paid to write this post.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

TTC Baby Number 2

This month was the first month DH and I started actively trying for baby number two. When i say "trying", i mean actually thinking about what date i would ovulate. We had not been using any protection since C was born as the odds of getting pregnant will our fertility issues were so slim.

I bought myself some cheap ovulation and pregnancy tests from the interent and prepared myself for the long haul. After all, the gynacologist had said that the combination of my PCOS and DH's fertility issues meant we had a 1 in 1000 chance of conceiving naturally. To date we had defied the odds and conceived twice. The first, in September 2010, ended in a chemical pregnancy at only 4 weeks, the 2nd, in July 2011, of course resulted in the birth of C in February 2012. We were therefore aware that conceiving naturally a 3rd time might be one miracle too far.

For the past 2 months my cycle had been 36 days long which would put ovulation around day 21.
Unfortunately DH went down with a cold the day i got my positive OPK therefore we only managed to BD once a couple of days earlier. I was therefore prepared to write this cycle off.

At 10dpo i decided i might as well take a pregancy test as i had plenty of internet cheapies. There were no instructions but after no line appeared after a minute or so, i came to the conclusion it was negative. I tested again at 14dpo to confirm. Again, negative.

15dpo came and went and still no AF. This surprised me as i knew i had ovulated. 16dpo, 17dpo, nothing. At 18dpo i decided to test again. Instantly a 2nd pink line appeared, and not that faint either! I was sceptical. Why hadn't this shown at 14dpo. We had only BDd once so i knew the dates wouldn't have added up for late ovulation. Either the test was lying and i wasn't pregnant, the test wasn't good enough to show at 14dpo, or this was a result of late implantation.

I bought a Clearblue test to check again properly the next morning. There it was in black and white. Pregnant! 2-3. Wow! I waved it in front of DH.
"Impressive!", he said.
It was! How we managed to conceive in our first month of trying and only BDing once, i will never know. We had been here before though and knew things could literally change overnight. I decided i would test again a week later with another Clearblue test to check that the estimated weeks since ovulation had increased to 3+.

I tested at 24dpo. Crossing everything that this wasn't going to be another chemical pregnancy. Pregnant 3+. Phew! Then... OMG! This is really happening! Very mixed feeling began to wash over me. Obviously i was HAPPY to be pregnant, RELIEVED the latest test was still showing good numbers and AMAZED we had managed it at all. However i was also SCARED. Scared of going through another stressful pregnancy while also juggling a young toddler, and most important scared of having 2 children under 2! Assuming this pregnancy progresses sucessfully, C will be 21 months when the new baby arrives. 3 months before her 2nd birthday. This terrifies me! C has never been an easy baby. I still consider it a good day if i have been allowed enough spare time to brush my hair in a day. How on earth am i supposed to have time to look after another baby???
I keep reminding myself that plenty of women have done it before me, and how wonderful it will be for C to have a sibling so close in age, a real playmate. Their is no denying it though... It will be tough!

Currently i am feeling more confident about this pregnancy than i was at this stage will C. I know that my body is (almost) capable of carrying a baby to term (C arrived 5 weeks early), and my PCOS seems reasonably under control as i only stopped breastfeeding a few weeks ago. The progression therefore lies more with this being a viable embryo than with my own hormones.

My next step is to make my initial apointment with the midwife. Then it really will start to feel real!