Just the Four of Us

Today, yesterday and the last few weeks have been a struggle. But today more so than anything. No particular reason, I am sure it’s just a build-up of everything. Isn’t it awful when life knocks you down and makes you feel like giving up.

As you have read over the last few months I have been struggling with fertility. I have mentioned the big dark cloud that looms as things keep getting progressively worse with disappointment after disappointment. Well this is different. I can’t even describe how I am feeling, I am fine one minute and then angry, upset, inconsolable, or just plain crazy the next. My need to control things has increased and my anxiety is through the roof.

This is not a call for sympathy or I am not trying to dwell on things to be a martyr, it is just a lot to digest and I feel like I am mourning. I am mourning the life that I thought I was going to have and the baby that I was going to love with all my heart.

I have received conflicting reports from Doctors, all helping to mess with my head even further. When we met with my Gynaecologist, who did the procedure, on the day my stitches were being removed, she gave us hope. It was more the delivery of the news than the words themselves as she delivered them with a smile and optimism. Sean came out of the meeting with a sigh of relief and said that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. To which my reaction was – “Were we in the same room?”.

She explained that during the hysteroscopy there would have been an element of fluid and there was no spillage from my tubes. The D and C went ok and she was happy enough with her findings and she even showed us pictures of my womb and tubes. From these pictures, she was able to show me the opening to my tubes which were in fact open and not in spasm. However, during the laparoscopy instead of using 10ml of fluid she used 50ml and there was no spill into my abdomen. She explained that during the procedure my tubes might go into spasm but that it was unlikely that this would happen for the length of time that she was doing her investigations. She then explained that my left tube had attached itself to the wall of my bowel with adhesions and that surgery to remove it and free it up may not be successful.

There was so much to take in and she was very understanding and kind, but also said that with the art of making babies anything goes, that although things don’t look or sound great that miracles happen and people have proved her wrong in the past. I am not feeling miracles at the moment. I don’t want to give myself anymore false hope. The last few months have been all about the science and through no fault of my own miracles have not helped. I have done everything I could. I have pumped my body with so many hormones and drugs. I have put my life on hold and I have been borderline insane at times. But no miracles.

I want to believe that everything will be ok and that things are the way they are meant to be, but am I really meant to be this unhappy and this broken. Am I really meant to feel guilty that it’s all my fault that I can’t give Sean another child or my children another sibling. I understand that things happen in life to make you stronger and that you will see down the road why it happened or the greater good that has come from this experience. But this is going on for nearly three years, I would rather just know why I feel like I am being tortured.

My consultant in the fertility clinic in Dublin told me that my tubes are more than likely fine and that they were just in spasm. It was very blasé on the phone and there was no consideration of my feelings. He hadn’t seen the scans, he hadn’t done the procedure, he was just giving me the numbers. He told me he would see me for my next appointment (which was meant to be this week and we would talk about it then). He said to arrange to get another HSG scan done, which I had. This would hopefully show that my tubes were ok and if not, I would have to consider more surgery or IVF. I postponed my appointment with him. What was the point in paying out 200.00 when I had no more information for him. I need to wait to have the next HSG scan done and also be back on treatment to have some blood results to review.

I am afraid to even try for a baby at the moment because I am at risk of ectopic pregnancy and losing my tubes altogether. If I was to fall pregnant I would need an early scan to rule it out. Imagine finding out your pregnant and feeling the excitement that it has finally happened and then living with the worry for a few weeks that it may be ectopic and not viable.

I brought Nathan, my oldest boy to an appointment last night with a craniosacral therapist last night, which is another day’s work. But this woman was able to read me, and not in a physic sort of way. She asked me if I was ok, she said that she could feel that I was holding a lot of upset on my chest. I told her that I was grand and she said that “Mammy’s always are, for the sake of their kids”. Am I that transparent, besides that fact that I am spilling my guts to all of you. But can I not even put on a fake smile and pretend to be ok in public anymore?

Another way of looking at it is why should I have to pretend to be ok? Why can’t I just be a mess all the time? I haven’t slept since the 30th of June, I am exhausted, both mentally and physically, I am trying to put on a brave face for my kids all the time and I am just tired. On the rare occasion that they find me upset I just tell them that I have banged my toe or have a pain in my belly. They have asked a few times in the last few weeks when Holy God is going to give us a baby and I have had to try hold my SHIT together and tell them that there will be no baby for a while and that we are happy, just the four of us……………………………..

To be continued

The Lights Went Out

It’s with a broken heart that I write this post. And while you are reading it, I am sitting with the Doctor waiting for her to say out loud what I already know in my gut to my true.

Friday morning, I went to hospital early, nervous but full of hope. We checked in and made our way to the Day Ward. After meeting my nurse and being shown to my bed I waited patiently to be called for my turn to go to theatre. The nurse went through questions with me, took my weight and then the Doctor came to insert the cannula and take some bloods. I was told that a section had gone in first and I would be next. This wasn’t the case and I was waiting around until 12 to be called.

The anesthetist came around to go through a few things and then I was asked to get into my gown. It was time to go. I had butterflies in my stomach and as Sean kissed me good bye I knew I needed to be strong and just get through the next few hours alone. I was wheeled down to theatre on the bed as I was on a drip to keep my fluids up. I was waiting in the corridor outside of theatre to be called in. My theatre nurse was the same one I had when I was having Jacob. It was familiar space but this time I wasn’t getting the baby I desired so much.

The doctor came out to me before surgery and said that she was going to do the laparoscopy and that if she needed to do any work while inside that I would have to stay overnight. It was time, I was wheeled in and helped from my bed to the operating table. Bright lights and the sterile smell and soon I was under after breathing in gas through the mask.

I woke up nearly three hours later in recovery with the theatre nurse calling my name. I was tired and didn’t want to wake up. There were nurses coming in and out and then my nurse from the day ward arrived. Then in walked my Doctor/Surgeon. I wasn’t fully coherent but I remember everything she said. She told me that she did not do any work during the laparoscopy. She told me I had a lot of adhesions and that my tubes were blocked, especially my left. She told me that she pumped me with blue dye and that it kept pouring out of me and not to be alarmed if there was blue appearing for the next few days. She said that she was checking for endometriosis and I didn’t have it. She said that I wasn’t to go back to work for a while and she gave me a prescription for pain relief. She also mentioned that she needed to check my scans from November as my tubed were not blocked then. She told me to come to see her on Thursday to get my stitches out and to go through the operation. Then she left and my nurse followed her. She was gone about ten or fifteen minutes and I spent that time yapping to the nurses. Coming out of the anaesthetic made me hyper and I couldn’t stop talking.

When my nurse returned, her and the theatre nurse wheeled me back to my room. We met Sean coming out of the theatre doors and he said he had been pacing for an hour and a half. Poor Sean he must have been beside himself with worry. When we got back to the room I asked Sean to dress me, the gown is horrible and sweaty and I was feeling disgusting after the surgery. Poor Sean saw some things that I am sure he wishes he could un-see but he was a trouper. He was an amazing help all day and looked after me the best he could. The nurse told him to go to the car and have a snooze to let me rest and to come back in an hour or so. I couldn’t sleep, I had the urge to pee and eventually called the nurse to help me to the bathroom. My nurse was gone to do another job so there was another lady with me. She was lovely and heavily pregnant with only 10 weeks left.

I was very unsteady on my feet and she propped me up on the way to the bathroom. I got myself onto the toilet and ten minutes later nothing was happening. I had to call out to reassure the nurse I was ok. I eventually squeezed out the tiniest drop and got back into bed. Sean came back soon after that and kept me company. I was so naive and just so delighted to finally know why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I thought that now we knew we could fix it and just unblock my tubes.

It was nearly time to go home and the nurse was in with me checking my wound. It was oozing a bit but nothing to be worried about. She took out my cannula and was talking to me about how attentive Sean had been all day and how we were an amazing couple. Then she started to get upset. The conversation moved on to whether I could remember what the Doctor had said to me earlier as she didn’t want me to get upset on Thursday if I was hearing it for the first time, that my tubes were blocked. She asked me if we had thought of any other options like IVF or adoption and I think she knew by my face that we hadn’t. None of this conversation registered with me as being strange until the next day and I just continued as my happy little self, glad to be finally getting out of hospital.

I got home and my sister had Jacob, I came in and put my feet up waiting for Jacob to get some cuddles. I face-timed Nathan to reassure him I was home and ok and had a quick chat with my sister when she called over, then It was off to bed. That night Jacob slept with me and although it was lovely to have him there, I was in a lot of pain. Sean had to work the next day so Jacob and I got up around 8:30 and I made him some brekkie. Soon afterwards alarm bells started going off.

I remembered that my tubes weren’t blocked in November and this was one of the first things to be checked in the fertility process. Then I thought it was strange that if there were adhesions there and she was already working on me why she hadn’t dissected them. Then the nurse came to mind and how she got upset and asked me had I thought of any other options. It was time to use Dr Google. It was confirmed, blocked tubes are nearly impossible to unblock if there are adhesions and scar tissue. I would never conceive naturally again. My whole world crumbled and my heart began to race. I lay on the couch barely able to move, screaming with the physical pain of heart break. How could this be happening. Months of torture all for nothing. I didn’t mind doing it as there was light at the end of the tunnel. Now the lights had gone out.

I text my fertility advisor to call me when she was free. I needed to hear it from a professional. The rest of the day was a blur. I told my Mam but she didn’t want to believe it and told me to wait until Thursday when I met my Doctor. I told Sean and my sister and each time my heart broke a little more. Saying it out loud made it real. My dreams were crushed. And I know a few of you might be saying – but you have two beautiful boys. Although I cherish them and love them with every ounce of me, when you long for a baby and then find out that your body has failed you, it’s heart breaking beyond belief. I feel like I am in mourning, I feel guilty as it’s my body that has failed and I am denying Sean anymore children, I feel so angry that this has happened and I am sure there will be no real explanation as to why. Why is the big question? Why me? ………..

To be continued

Welcome Distractions

It was the week leading up to the procedure and I was distracted with Birthday parties, football matches, training and other kids related stuff. The weekend started with Jacob graduating from Montessori on Thursday. It was an emotional day and both Sean and I were bursting with pride, our baby was finally finished creche and ready for big school. On Friday, after school Nathan attended a joint party for two of his friends and of course Jacob tagged along and then after that they had a match and I had dinner with a friend. The next morning was a breakfast birthday party at 10am, which they both attended and we were meant to go back that afternoon for the older brother’s party but poor Jacob was wrecked and fell asleep. He was all partied out.

I spent Saturday afternoon scrubbing the house trying to get on top of the house work for the following weekend as I knew I would be out of action. In between scrubbing and cooking I went outside to chat to one of the neighbour’s. It was an overcast day with a lovely breeze but still warm. I didn’t see the sun pop out at all that day but Mr Sun definitely saw me. I got the worst burn of my life all over my chest and down my arms as far as the inside of my elbows. And course I had a shiny Rudolf nose. I didn’t notice it till that evening until it started to get sore and turn purple. I am usually so careful wearing factor 50 to avoid these situations. I was so annoyed with myself but at the same time confused as it wasn’t overly sunny.

Saturday night in all my shinny sun burnt glory I had a ladies’ night organized out the back. We put up a gazebo and we all had our blankets to snuggle as the night went on. It was a well needed escape from the stress that I was facing with the impending operation. We laughed until the early hours of the morning and I enjoyed a jug on Pimm’s. Of course, I over stocked for the night, preparing freshly cut orange, lemon and lime slices, sliced strawberries and some mint to spice up the drinks. There were jars of sweets, pringles, doritos and pretzels a plenty. I thoroughly enjoyed the release and the company and of course paid for it the next morning.

Sunday was a quiet day by all accounts, we took turns getting some sleep and about 4pm I got the bright idea to go to Portlaoise. I wanted to get some leggings and a loose top for the hospital as it was a day procedure and a jammies wasn’t necessary. Much to everyone’s dismay we all headed to Portlaoise. It was a quick visit, in and out of Shaws sorted the clothes and I ran into Boots with ten minutes to spare to get some Aloe Vera for my burns. Boys got a cheeky McDonalds and everyone was happy going home. I packed my bag that night and everyone got into our bed at eight o’clock to watch some America’s Got Talent.

Like the weekend, the week was as busy. Monday Nathan got his school report and to treat him and celebrate I brought him to the cinema. We were like the CIA trying to get out of the house without telling Jacob. Nathan was dying to get his hair cut so we went there first. Blade 3, a comb over and two lines shaved in his head later we were on route to Portlaoise. Much to his disappointment I stopped in Shaws first. I wanted to see if I could get a soft wireless sports bra that I could wear under my clothes at night-time and specifically for the hospital. I wanted something that separates the to footballs attached to my chest but without any wires. Such a thing doesn’t exist and after trying on a few Granny bra’s we bolted.

A quick feed in SuperMacs and then off to the cinema to see “The Diary of a Whimpy kid – The Long Haul”. I booked the tickets online and luckily got them for half price with the June offer. We had a great time and it was nice to have Nathan to myself. Jacob is two years younger but still considers himself a baby at times. He monopolizes me and poor Nathan doesn’t get a look in. I think he does it to get a rise out of Nathan most of the time and then I have to explain that there is plenty of me to share. Nathan enjoyed himself and that’s what mattered. I was so proud of his good report.

Tuesday was one of the neighbour’s birthdays. When I got home from work they were already there and I happened to get an appointment with the nail technician to fix my nails. The top coat on a few of them had cracked and I was embarrassed about going to hospital with them that way. Sean was off early on Tuesday so it worked out well and he was able to pick them up from the party and I followed home.

Wednesday night was training in the rain, I had to wet boys jump into the car afterwards. Home for a bath and some super and then bed. Sean was working late both Wednesday and Thursday night so he could be off Friday so I was running around after the monkeys by myself. I left Thursday night free so I could get myself ready.

I took a long time to settle the boys to bed Thursday night. I had to explain to them that I may not be there when they woke the next morning as I was leaving early to go to the hospital. Their childminder was coming over to get them out of bed and ready. It was Nathan’s last day of school and he was going for a sleepover in a friend’s after school so I didn’t need to worry about him the next day.

However, that night he was very unsettled. He kept getting out of bed and I had so much to do. At first, I was getting annoyed with him and telling him to go back to bed. But then I realised he just needed some reassurance. I realised this when I was having a shower and a tiny person appeared and frightened the life out of me. I followed him back into his room when I was dressed and gave him loads of cuddles. I explained that I was going to hospital in the morning to get my tummy checked to make sure it was ok and that I would be home the same day. He was going to have his iPad with him in his friends and at any time all he had to do was Face Time Daddy to check on me. He seemed happy with that and turned out to go asleep. As I was walking out of the room he called me back and asked, as he always does, “When is Holy God going to give us a baby Mammy?” And I replied as I always do, “Soon baby, very soon”.

Or so I thought………………………………………

To be continued

Internal Combustion

To all my wonderful followers, sorry I have disappeared for a while. When you are exposing yourself, and sharing your inner thoughts and feelings it can be very draining. Don’t get me wrong I am really enjoying it and find it very therapeutic, but at the same time it’s very hard to be so vulnerable.

During my last post, I talked about waiting for my blood results. I received the phone call from the GP and they said that my progesterone was not tested, however my oestrogen levels were at 871. A huge jump from my highest ever reading. However, I was gutted that my progesterone had not come back, this was the tell all result that I needed and it wasn’t good enough. I called back to the doctor’s and happened to get the lady on the phone who took my bloods. She said that she definitely requested for progesterone and said that the results were in fact back. I asked her to get the GP to phone me back.

Shock to the system! My progesterone had reached 116. I couldn’t believe it. I was so thrilled. This had to be it. I called the clinic and they said that they were happy with the results and no change to treatment. I also spoke to my fertility advisor and told all my nearest and dearest. We were all so optimistic and praying that it had eventually worked. I was feeling sick, tired, and suffering terrible with indigestion. My breasts were really tender and I was delighted. All signs that I was pregnant.

My periods were late by not one, but two days. This was it. I was so excited. I even looked up my due date. I was due on my birthday. All the signs were pointing in the right direction and I was thrilled. Day three late and I got out of bed. I knew before I even went to the toilet, my dreams were crushed. My periods came and were heavier than ever. Probably due to my progesterone levels, meaning my lining was thicker. It was now the 1st of June and I had a choice to make.

I was devastated to say the least. I think what made it worse was that my results were where they needed to be. I was finally reacting to the medication and I was so optimistic that it had finally started to work. It was not a good day but as I said decisions had to be made. I called the clinic and told them. They said that because I was getting the procedure done at the end of June that I should stay off all medication for June and try avoiding fertile days. That’s it I was on holidays.

Officially I couldn’t try this month. If I did by some miracle conceive, it would be too early to tell when I was going for my procedure and I could potentially, accidentally abort the baby. I couldn’t take the chance so the chastity belt went on 😊. Nathan had his school tour the next day so it was easy to focus on his excitement. I also had to pack for our holidays as we were heading off early on Saturday morning. That evening I had a hair appointment. I hadn’t got my hair done in ages and fancied a change. Probably not the right day to go, being so hormonal. I sat down for my consultation and said I wanted to go back blonde and I wanted to cut it. I have been dying it brown for a year or two now and it doesn’t last very long. My own natural tones are so warm that cool tones won’t stick. Blonde it was.

I sat in the chair with all the packets in my hair thinking what have I done, am I brave enough for this huge change. Will I like it? I am very attached to my hair and when it doesn’t work out how I envisage it I get very upset. I didn’t need any more upset today, why did I do this to myself. Suck it up, Dawn. It will be grand, I kept telling myself. It was the hormones. I was like a crazy lady in my head, talking to myself 😊. I had planned on get waxed but my periods ruined that too so I decided to get my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted. The beauty therapist told me that she could help me fill out my brows if I give her a few months. This was music to my ears as I often look like I have no eyebrows, they are so light and so thin. With all this going on you can only imagine was I looked like. The tint was put in and the packets removed. A treatment was put in my hair and I was left to return to my seat. Once I sat down I got an awful fright. The state of me. My eyebrows were so bushy and my hair slicked off my face. I looked like a man. That’s it, there was internal combustion going on. I had exploded inside. Nobody approach me, nobody even look at me, I needed to pull myself together. Help! Crazy person trying to escape.

I thought they would never remove me from in front of the mirror, oh good god, hide my reflection. The treatment was removed and my brows were waxed, the excess tint was removed and the two hairy-mollies across my forehead were reduced to slightly thicker darker brows than I had before. Phew, I could look in the mirror again without repulsing. My hair was still wet though and I wasn’t sure how I was going to react. Oh, the torture. Hurry up and cut it, I have no patience. The inner dialogue was on over drive tonight. Luckily my hair was ok, it was a shock to the system and was going to take some getting used to but I didn’t hate it. What made my day was when I went to pay, Mammy had gotten there before me. I was delighted, such a kind and generous gesture. It was now time for bed, woah! I was tired, time to switch off the brain.

Nathan loved his school tour on the Friday and as I waved him off that morning I decided that June was going to be all about the kids, about me and about Sean. We had our holidays to look forward to, a concert in Cork, I had planned dinner with an old friend and a cocktail night with my neighbours. Sometimes I think we spend so much time in our heads, overthinking and worrying that sometimes we feel like we are going to explode. I know that this is true for me and I need to remember that I have loads to look forward to and so much to be thankful for………………………………………….

To be continued

Kids Come First

April was a new month; my positivity was oozing. I was so excited. Then reality hits and these things that consume you don’t seem so important anymore when your child gets sick. Easter was approaching and the kids were bursting with excitement. The thoughts of all those Easter eggs. On the Thursday before the Easter holidays I collected Nathan from my Mam’s as normal. He was complaining of a headache and was very sheepish when I picked him up. In the ten minutes, it took me to drive home he couldn’t open his eyes as the light was hurting him. I told him to go straight upstairs when we got home and go to bed.

Nathan is not a child to give in easily, there is always a row in the evenings when it is time for him to come in off the road and get ready for bed so for him to get out of the car that evening, go straight upstairs, close his shutters and get into bed was so unusual. He got into bed fully clothed with his shoes on and by the time I had unloaded the car and got into the house his temperature had soared and he was shaking in the bed. I helped take his shoes off and gave him some calpol to try get his temperature down. All the while he was crying cause the door was slightly ajar so I could see what I was doing. He fell asleep soon afterwards and I checked on him occasionally.

Sean came home at 6ish and I filled him in, I had an appointment in Portlaoise so I rushed off, keeping in contact with him over the phone to get updates on Nathan. My appointment lasted an hour or so and when I got back to the car I saw a missed called from Sean. Nathan had woken up and got sick and he was still very hot. I knew in my gut when I saw the call that Nathan had been sick, I could just feel it. I was home soon after that and checked on him. As Sean was filling me in we could hear someone up and Nathan had stumbled into the bathroom and was crying because of the light, trying to go to the toilet. He was very disorientated and wobbly on his feet. I helped him get back into bed and gave him some Neurofen to help with his temperature.

After I settled him I called the VHI 24-hour nurse-line. I went through all his symptoms and she stopped me and said, “Mammy you need to bring him straight to A&E”. I knew I would have to, but sometimes you need a professional’s opinion to let you know you’re not overreacting. Poor Nathan, I had to get him out of bed and into the car, trying to keep his eyes covered at all times. The drive to Portlaoise in the dark must have helped him or the medicine must have kicked in because when we got to Portlaoise he had cooled down and cheered up a bit. It’s always the way when you bring your kids to the doctors they make a liar out of you. I remember as a child myself being very sick and lying in Mammy’s bed. It was late at night and before the Midoc and out of hours Doctor’s services that are available these days. Mam called our doctor at the time as she must have been worried about me and he came out to the house. When he was gone, I can remember her giving out, messing, that all I did was smile when the doctor was there and made her feel like a liar. Ooops!

Anyway, back to Nathan, we had to check in downstairs and I swear the receptionist thought I was a hypochondriac. She let us in and we made our way upstairs. It was 10ish and there were two babies ahead of us. Nathan was wrecked so he fell asleep on the couch, thank god, he did as we were waiting hours before we even got seen. I couldn’t understand the wait with only two ahead. While we were waiting a couple with a seven-week-old baby came in. Baby was crying and Mam was too, on and off. Baby had been crying all day and they were worried about him. They had forgotten to bring any bottles with them, probably not knowing how long you can be held up as it was their first. A nurse went to get them a bottle to feed him to see if that would help with the crying. As she was gone to get it, Mam was getting very frustrated and started to cry again. I really felt for her, as I know how it feels not knowing what to do to help your baby and then the guilt of feeling that you are doing something wrong.

The nurse came with the bottle and baby started to drink it. However, the teeth were too big and he was gulping. I was sitting there and I could hear him filling with wind as he gulped and his poor tummy was rumbling. I was toying with the idea of saying something, will I, won’t I. Well I did. He was crying as he drank and it was obviously so uncomfortable for him. I had to interrupt and I just explained that he was filling with air and that he was going to be in a lot of pain, the teeth were too big. She agreed and decided to fly home to get him his own bottle. I think she needed the break.

While she was gone, I offered to take the baby from her husband, I really just wanted a cuddle for myself 😊 He was so cute and tiny. Poor pet had colic and was full of air. As I held him in my arms and rubbed his back he got up loads of wind. He eventually settled and drifted off to sleep. As he was quite I was talking to the dad and subtly tried to tell him to keep an eye on his wife as she seemed to be struggling. I knew her pain, I suffered through it, and getting on top of it early and getting support and help from your loved ones is so important. He seemed like a really nice and genuine guy and was all about his wife, which was lovely to see. But something he said shocked me. I mentioned Post Natal Depression and that I had suffered with it after my boys and he said that people are talking about it too much, its everywhere. He said that people are too quick to jump to it and that in his case his wife just needed her Mam and she would be ok. He didn’t have an attitude, he was just matter of fact and that’s what he thought. It threw me really, as the whole problem is women don’t talk about it as much as they should and they suffer in silence until the problem consumes them. It needs to be more acceptable to talk about and to ask for help.

Besides that, he was a lovely guy and was asking me all about Nathan and was very kind and polite. When his wife came back, the Doctor happened to call me at the same time. Nathan was still asleep so I told them to go ahead first, they were worried and distraught and Nathan’s symptoms had subsided to an extent. They happily took the offer and we were called soon afterwards.

I went through all of Nathan’s symptoms with the doctor and he felt it was important to get a sample of Nathan’s blood to test. Poor Nathan doesn’t do pain, bit like his Daddy. I had to restrain him while they inserted the cannula. He is so dramatic at the best of times and was sweating and screaming at the thoughts of the inserting the needle. He also needs to know exactly what is happening at all time and needs to watch so that didn’t help matters. I remember about a year ago he got a splinter in his finger. It was hurting him and he wanted it out. That day will be engrained into my memory forever. I sat him on the kitchen counter and although he wanted it out, he didn’t want me to look at it, let alone touch it. That was proving to be difficult because without super powers I wasn’t going to be able to get it out. He screamed and shouting and sweated for a solid hour. He jumped down off the counter so many times and pulled his hand out of mine every time I was close to getting it out. Two people called to the door that evening to what I am sure they thought was a torture house. I was shouting at him to stay still, he was shouting at me to take it out, don’t touch, stop, ouch it hurts and then Sean was there trying to calm us both down. It was like a comedy show on TV.

So, you can only imagine what he was like when they were trying to put the cannula in. They got it in eventually. He is allergic to the numbing cream so they used a spray, but even that wasn’t welcomed. They took a sample of his blood and told us to wait in the waiting room until the results came in. At this stage I was getting tired and so was he. I thought they were going to send us home as he wasn’t symptomatic anymore. The couple with the baby came out while we were waiting and they were given the all clear with baby. He had colic and that’s why he was screaming all day. I suggested they get him tested for intolerance to dairy and also look for some alternative remedies that might help him. As they left the doctor approached me and took me by surprise. He told me Nathan’s white blood cell count was alarmingly high and they were admitting him. They were worried about Meningitis and wanted to get him on very strong antibiotics asap.

I called Sean to tell him and asked that he get some clothes ready for us. Then I called Daddy to see if he would bring them over. I felt terrible as it was 3am before we got admitted so he had to get out of bed. Sean fell back to sleep, the big dope 😊 I had to ring him again to wake him up. Once Dad had gone I was able to lie down on the extra comfortable chair bed and close my eyes for a while. On the rounds the next morning the doctors explained that they were worried about meningitis and that they wanted to send bloods to Temple Street and run their own bloods cultures. They also wanted to do a lumbar puncture – I said no, not unless it was completely necessary and wanted to wait for the blood results first. Nathan was spiking a temperature for a few hours but it was soon controlled with medication and the nurses were in every few hours to administer antibiotics into his cannula.

Its gas, kids are so funny. Nathan was upset as he was missing his last day of school – seriously! It was more like missing out on the party in school. He had loads of visitors that day and was delighted with all the match attacks he got, spoilt rotten. The boredom was starting to set in and he was in isolation so couldn’t leave his room. Either could I as he didn’t want to let me out of his sight. When Dad came over late I ran out when he was going to get something to eat and left Nathan with Sean. When I got back he was asleep and I followed soon afterwards. The next morning when he woke up he was as bright as a button and that was heightened when Nanny arrived with the white and grey united kit. He was made up. Had to get dressed straight away. He was running around the room and dancing. After Nanny left for work we got some breakfast and he wolfed it down. All we needed now was the doctors to come around to discharge us, we had cabin fever.

The night before we got the all clear for meningitis. I had to chase them for the results as no one told us. With those results and the fact that Nathan hadn’t spiked a temperature since the day before and he was in flying form, I wanted to go home and keep an eye on him myself. He didn’t need round the clock medical attention anymore. The doctor came in and he was lovely. He got Nathan to do some jumps and tests and Nathan was loving the attention. He had young kids himself and was chatting football with Nathan as he was all kitted out. I asked for him to be discharged and eventually got around him. They wanted us to stay for the week, but I had Jacob to think of, my job and also Nathan’s sanity. He wasn’t feeling sick anymore, if he was I would be the first to stay. They let us home on the condition that we came back daily for IV antibiotics and therefore the cannula had to stay in. It was a compromise we could accept.

Nathan was delighted to get out and he strolled out on top of the world. He insisted on going straight to the barbers to get his hair cut. He’s gas. Dad met us there with Jacob and he was thrilled to see us both. It was a beautiful day and Nathan was glad to get home to his own house and see his friends outside. He sat on the bench first talking to them and he even snuck in some football.

The next few days we went back to the hospital each day for IV antibiotics. After a few days though his fingers were very cold and his arm too. He was uncomfortable and had pins and needles. I called the hospital and they said they would probably have to redo the cannula in the order hand when he came in the next day. That was not the case. They removed it completely and he was reassessed. The doctor had a team of student doctors with him and nurses and on review of Nathan’s file wanted to re-admit him. I refused, he was only covering himself I think and we negotiated to get oral antibiotics instead. We were free, Nathan was thrilled. He had to get repeat bloods the following week but besides that he could start enjoying his Easter holidays.

We never found out exactly what was wrong with him but was glad it didn’t manifest into something serious. With all this going on you can only imagine I completely forgot about myself. I didn’t get a chance to arrange follicle tracking and I sure wasn’t thinking about ovulation. Luckily I was only at the beginning of my cycle and didn’t miss any of the important days…………………………….

To be continued

March – The Month of Many Weathers

I started into March down in the dumps and just heartbroken. But as I said before I had to pick myself up and look forward to the next month. I think a positive attitude helps things along. I started my new cycle on March 2nd and on day three and four I took my fermara x 5 on each day. I called the OBGYN to arrange follicle tracking for day 9. This has become so important to me as it helps me understand what is happening inside. How my body is responding to the hormones and if this month is looking good. Well it was all good news this month with my results, things were looking up. But don’t get too excited – no pregnancy yet.

On Day 9, I went for follicle tracking, Aideen greeted a very upset me. I found it hard to hold back my disappointment of last month and getting my periods. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am always hoping for the best and miracles so that when it doesn’t happen the disappointment is huge. Aideen could see that I was upset and explained a few things. My scan showed that I had a follicle 17.9mm – this was a good size for day 9 but not ready to rupture yet. The scan also showed the many follicles or cysts in my left ovary. Aideen asked me out of the blue “what do you do to be creative”. I thought I misheard her at first and asked her to repeat herself. She put me on the spot. I couldn’t think of anything off hand and just replied that I don’t really take much time to myself for anything. Aideen explained that in Chinese medicine your left side is your female side and your creative side. By being creative you are forcing your left side to work and this may help it to be more functional.

This is where “Get Creative” came from. Aideen told me to go home and even if I just did some art with the boys or found a hobby for myself this would help. When I thought about it afterwards, although I don’t sit down with the kids for art time as they are so busy, I am very creative in my own ways. I love to partake in interior design, I think I have a good eye for it, I am also very creative in the garden and love putting together plants and colours and creating a calming space. I love to bake and decorate cakes and buns and there are loads of different ideas rolling around in my head at any given time. So, although I am not obviously creative, I am definitely not without creativity.

I was scheduled back in for another appointment a few days later, on day 12. This time the follicle had grown to a juicy size of 24mm, it was ready to pop. I arranged for my HCG injection to be given that night as advised by the fertility clinic and then the next morning I got a positive result on the ovulation tests. Everything was looking good. I had a few days of good mucus and from this I was able to calculate my peak day. My review appointment was the 20th and I was full of hope going up there. I met with Dr. Michelle and we went through my charts briefly and then discussed changing my medication going forward. I also told her what Aideen had suggested about taking Co-Enzyme’s and Exputex – she agreed and included them on my updated medication list. Then she suggested the Food Intolerance test. This was quick and simple and a whopping €135.00 on top of the consultation fee. But as you can see from my previous post about the results it is worth it to find out.

A few days passed and on peak plus seven I got my bloods done – Progesterone and Oestrodial. I was optimistic this month and couldn’t wait to get the results a few days later. I remember ringing the nurse and it felt like I was getting my leaving cert results all over again. The butterflies in my tummy were flying all over the place. The nurse nearly knows me at this stage and when she gave me my Progerterone result I had a little screech of excitement. It was 50.4. Such a huge jump from last month and I was thrilled. The Oestrogen was also good at 537. I felt so positive this month and of course was wishing and hoping that this was it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be this month either and although getting my periods upset me I was so hopeful as the results were finally looking up. April, this was going to be the month………………………………

To be continued

 

2013 – A Tough Year

If any of you have suffered with Post Natal Depression you will know it’s hard to explain or put into words what your feeling. I remember leaving the hospital on my first baby, Nathan, and before I left the nurse told me to be aware of the baby blues hitting in the next few days. But there was no explanation of what we should feel or how we should react or no follow up support. For me Post Natal masked itself in many different ways:

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • OCD
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Guilt

After Nathan, there were a few low months that I felt the cloud, as I described it before, looming but honestly this was pushed to one side as I had a wedding to prepare for. I had a year between having Nathan and getting married. With all the major things booked I could have my time at home with him for a few months and then it was all systems go from the New Year. I didn’t have time to ruminate. It really hit me after Jacob more so when I returned to work full time.

I went back to work in January 2013. I loved my job so much and really felt I had found my forever place of employment. This all changed when I got back to work. The lady that replaced me was leaving soon after some loose ends were to be tied up. I returned to my office and reprised my role as Accounts Payable. However, the girl I shared an office with was a cold sole and by that, I mean she felt the cold. I, on the other hand, am always warm. There was a heater behind my desk that was turned up full blast most of the day and then she also had a heater the length of her desk, in front of her desk. The door was always closed as the information we worked on and phone calls contained sensitive information. I was so warm. I could feel my face overheating and I was struggling to function. I didn’t say anything about it and I struggled on just trying to do my work and get on with it. One day while my colleague was on her lunch I opened the window behind me to get some fresh air. I forgot to close it before she came back from lunch and when she returned to the office I shut it. I also lowered the heater from 5 to 4 on the dial one afternoon. The next day she had a go at me and told me how annoyed she was that I turned down the radiator and how inconsiderate I was and that when my maternity replacement was in the office there was never an issue. She was not one bit nice that day. I got upset as my emotions were all over the place. I tried to explain that I was really warm and the office was uncomfortable to work in. That it is very hard to cool down and much easier to warm up with an extra layer or two. The office was only small and therefore unbearable to work in the heat. She really upset me that day and there was no reasoning with her. That was the day I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I felt I was being bullied and there was no one I could speak to or get help from.

A couple of weeks previous I brought Nathan to see the consultant regarding his tonsils. He had at least one antibiotic a month due to tonsillitis and ear infections. He was only two and a half but he was missing so much time from creche and then I was also missing time from work. The consultant took one look at his tonsils and told me they were rotten and had to come out. He was scheduled in for two weeks later. I had to take time off from work to be there for his recuperation and this made me feel terrible as I was only back five or six weeks. I was able to go into work during this 2-week period on the days my husband had off and also when my mam was off from work. At least I was trying to be accommodating as possible.

I was nervous about the operation and Sean couldn’t come to the hospital with me. I don’t think he felt comfortable asking for the day off but I was really hurt, I needed him with me. Thankfully my Dad came so I had the support I needed. We checked into our room and the nurses were fussing about getting everything ready. Nathan was fasting and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t eat and therefore they tried to get him in as early as possible. They put the numbing cream on his hand for the cannula insertion and after a few minutes it started to burn him and he took an allergic reaction to it. This had to be removed but he was getting stressed and so was I. His time came and he was wheeled down to theatre. I was allowed go into the operating with him until he was put under anaesthetic. This is when things got very upsetting. I had to restrain him for them to get the gas mask on his face. He was screaming at me to stop and to lift him up. It was the most difficult time as a Mammy that I have ever had to go through. I knew it was for his own good, but that was hard to comprehend at the time. As a Mammy, your instinct is to protect your children and I was getting very upset.

He finally went to sleep and I was ushered out of the room. I had a cry on Daddy’s shoulders and we went to the café to sit down and wait. The operation didn’t last as long as I had expected and a nurse came looking for me in the café. Nathan was in recovery but he was hysterical coming out of the anaesthetic. I forced my way into in recovery and jumped into the bed beside him and cradled him. He was upset about his foot as the cannula was inserted into it instead of his hands. He as so groggy and in and out of sleep, but when he was awake he was crying. I was glad to be moved back to our room where I could comfort him in peace. He was fine after a long sleep and some food and ice pops. We were released the following morning and he was happy to get home. He told me his tonsils were bad and had to be thrown in the bin.

His recovery went well and he was so brave. On day five his scars started to get really tight and it was loads of medicine and ice pops to get him through. On day 7 he was feeling much better and I brought him for lunch in a local restaurant. He was itching to get out of the house so I thought some lunch and ice-cream would be a nice treat. I had carbonara and we sat back and relaxed. That evening my sister was coming over to make her boyfriend a cheesecake, as it was the eve of Valentine’s Day. I tasted a bit of the Belgian chocolate that she was using but didn’t like it and still felt full from my lunch. That night I woke up from my sleep with the worst pain high up in my stomach. I couldn’t sit, lie, stand or move. It was excruciating. I was crying with the pain and woke Sean. I rang Midoc and made an appointment. Sean rang our friend to come and get me as he couldn’t leave the house with the two boys. I wasn’t in a position to drive myself. I got to Midoc and they sent me straight to A&E. I was assessed and quickly put onto a drip and given some IV antibiotics.

The pain started to subside and I was brought for an ultrasound. I was admitted shortly afterwards and told I had gallstones. I was in hospital for a few days, which was really tough as Nathan needed me at home. On release I was given an appointment to have my gallbladder removed in the coming weeks once the swelling and infection went down. In the meantime, I returned to work and that is when the incident occurred with my colleague. I wasn’t on an amazing wage and with the cost of two kids in full time childcare and trying to pay bills, it wasn’t worth it. My heart wasn’t in it anymore and I was leaving my kids and not getting home until late every day. I know so many people do it but at the time it all got too much. I handed in my notice in work reluctantly and finished up the week before my op.

While in hospital getting, my gallbladder removed I felt really down, I was lonely. With Sean at home with the kids and having too much time to think and be away from them, I think this is when I started to realise something was the matter. Also, while in hospital the doctors kept talking about my weight and telling me I had to lose weight. I had lost 24lbs since January and I was really active as I was training for the mini marathon. This really got to me as it was a sensitive issue and I was doing my best.

It took me a really long time to recover from the operation and for some reason I was having recurring pains as if I still had my gallbladder. Being at home again, although it was great to be with the kids, it isolated me from adult contact and I started to become more and more of a recluse. I was getting upset a lot, my stress levels were so high. I could feel anxiety creeping in about doing simple things. After a few months of feeling so low I approached my doctor, I told her how I was feeling and that I didn’t want to be medicated, but I wanted to be referred to someone that could give me the skills of managing my stress.

Even that felt like a weight lifted. The first guy I met was not for me. Firstly, he couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through and honestly he wasn’t even trying to understand. I got that feeling from him like he wasn’t listening and then he gave me a patronising speech. Back to the doctor I went and she referred me to someone different. This time the fit was right. She was a real Mammy figure and gave me a hug at the end of each session. She made me feel like I wasn’t alone and gave me some coping skills to deal with everyday anxiety and stress. It wasn’t a fix all but it definitely helped.

However, as the summer continued that year Nathan got very sick with pains in his belly and I ended up in hospital with him. He couldn’t walk one Sunday when he woke up and was doubled over in pain. He had been ill for a few days with a high temperature and tummy aches but no vomiting or diarrhoea. Sean was working that Sunday and my parents and sister just happened to be in Galway at the same time for different reasons. So, I was on my own. Over to the hospital with Nathan and a one year old. Nathan was admitted and Sean’s sister kindly came and took Jacob from me. Nathan had an ultrasound and an x-ray and it showed his abdomen was full of air. It looked like he was full of bubbles on the ultrasound. A tube had to be inserted down his nose and into his stomach to release some of the trapped air. He was so uncomfortable and upset with me for letting them put the tube in. It’s tough to be the baddie even though you know it’s for their own good. Thankfully he recovered quickly and was back to his normal self.

A few weeks later I put my back out. I bent down one morning when Sean was in work and took some food out of the grill for the kids. No sooner had I bent down, I felt something go and I couldn’t get back up. I was in agony. I rang one of my neighbours to come and get me some medicine out of the press as I was crippled on the couch. My sister came to take me to Midoc and my parents took the kids. I was given an injection to ease the pain. Over the next few weeks the pain didn’t go away. I was barely able to function normally and the medication wasn’t helping. I couldn’t take the full medication either as I had two kids to look after. I think people thought I was exaggerating as they were getting annoyed with me. I asked for an MRI after four weeks to see what was causing the pain. I knew it was sciatica as the pain went down my right leg. The MRI was done and the information sent back to my doctors to read. I had a bulging disc and deterioration of the lower spine and they couldn’t give me an answer as to when I would feel better. I had to let myself heel and they suggested taking to the bed in order to give myself time to get better. Obviously, this was not possible and I still had a one year old who needed to be fed and picked up and cuddled all the time and a 3-year-old who wanted to be up as much. It was October before I felt better and stopped taking pan relief.

It was such an eventful year with all of the above happening and I am sure anyone would struggle under those circumstances. But with having PND it heightened everything and made it harder to let things go.  There were other personal things that happened that year like strains on important relationships and this added to the loneliness and isolation I felt ……………………………………

To be continued

Our Wedding Day

Your Wedding Day is such a special day and ours did not disappoint. I stayed in Mammy and Daddy’s the night before my wedding. I slept in my own bed and Tara took Nathan in with her so that I could get a sleep. The night before there were a few family and friends in Mam and Dad’s house, a few glasses of champagne and wine were consumed and then Tara and Shauna (my sisters) presented me with my hen memories book, with loads of pictures and messages from all my chicks 😊. It was such a nice gift and something I will cherish forever. Off to bed early as I needed as much sleep as possible before the big day.

Early to bed and early to rise! I was up early and straight into the shower. Our hairdresser, Andrea, from the Hair Gallery in Portlaoise was there to get started. The rollers were put in and then it was under the dryer for me. While I was drying, I was on my phone reading all the well wishes I had received that morning. It was so relaxed. The front sitting room was the hair studio, the living room was for makeup and the kitchen was chaos. There were bodies everywhere. Olive was on the floor with a few of the kids putting the marryoke lyrics into the mass booklets, Nathan was crawling around full of divilment. We had so many visitors that morning. The flowers arrived with my uncle. My cousin was driving Sean and the Groomsmen so he was in the house to collect the flowers for their lapels. My Aunt was there with my beautiful flower girl and her brother, our junior groomsman/usher for the day. Someone went out and got breakfast for everyone there and drinks and laughter were flowing.

Once my hair was done it was off to make-up with Lisa, she did an amazing job. Everyone got their turn at hair and makeup, they even squeezed in a few extras. The photographer and videographer were there taking pictures of us as we got ready. We also filmed some scenes for our marryoke. It was hilarious singing along to the lyrics of Barry White, “My First, My Last, My Everything”. I had to sing it by myself and with my sisters and Mam. Our videographer and photographer were Frame It Weddings (https://www.frameitweddings.com/). Richie and Les were so accomodating and captured amazing memories from the day. After that I was walking around the house enjoying the atmosphere and a sip of champagne. Tara and Shauna my bridesmaid were off getting ready and so was Mammy. They looked amazing. We were all so relaxed that we forgot the time, oops! The car had arrived to bring us to the church and I wasn’t even in my dress. The pressure was on. Into Mam and Dad’s room I went and I was helped into my dress by my sisters. Tara tightened the back and Shauna was underneath fixing the tulle and strapping in my shoes. Dad came in once I was dressed with Nathan in his arms and tears were shed.

Then we were off. Into the car with Daddy and off we went to the church. It was a glorious day and the temperatures reached 26 degrees. I was a bit late for the church so as soon as we arrived it was time to line of for the procession. Dad turned to me and asked what he was to do when we got to the top of the aisle. I started off by saying you can shake Sean’s hand and then lift my …., oh s**t. I forgot my vail. In all the excitement, the vail was hanging the in the wardrobe and it was forgotten about. Panic stations! Tara took over, into bridesmaid mode. My uncle was called for, with whispers going down the church. When he came out him and Tara jumped into the car and sped off towards the house. The priest, Fr. Tommy came out for a chat and the church inside was alive with whispers wondering what was happening.

Tara and my uncle arrived back in no time and the vail was thrown in any which way, who cares, it was here. Down over my face and the String Quartet Vltava began to play. As I walked down the aisle I got so emotional, it was finally happening. I was on my way up the aisle to the love of my life, ready to start a new chapter and commit ourselves to each other in front of all our family, friends, and God. It was a beautiful ceremony, if I say so myself. I prepared the mass with help from Fr. Tommy and tried to get as many involved as possible. All the kids in the family were invited and they all did prayer of the faithful in pairs with their siblings. Sean’s sister did a reading and so did a very close friend of ours.

It was time for the vows and Sean and I had been practising for weeks. He nailed his and I mixed mine up to a different version but no one noticed, till now. Before the priest got to announce us as husband and wife I leaned in and kissed Sean. I got the timing wrong and the priest made a joke and the whole church erupted in laughter. It wasn’t the first time during the ceremony that laughter was heard as Fr. Tommy made a few jokes about how late I was and about my vale. It made the ceremony more personal. I dos were exchanged; another kiss was had and we were married. My sister read a prayer after communion which was very emotional for everyone. We signed the registry and took a few photos and then we danced out of the church to Barry White.

Everyone gathered in the church yard after congratulating us. Champagne was passed out to the immediate families and group photos were taken. It was great to see all the people who could join us on our special day and looking back at it now we were so blessed to have so many. It’s sad to think that a few special characters have passed away since then, but they are always in our thoughts.

The wedding party made their way to Emo Court for pictures. It is such a special place for us and it was fitting to have our pictures taken there. We got all the group shots out of the way and then everyone left, leaving Sean and I and the photographer for some more intimate shots. It was so hot in Emo that poor Sean got burnt on his head. Once the photos were taken the videographer got some scenes of Sean and I singing and dancing around a tree for the marryoke. Sean was so embarrassed which made me laugh more. It was hilarious. Richie and Les from Frame It Weddings were there encouraging us – more Sean and me to embrace it and just enjoy it. The photos and footage would be worth it.

On our way to the reception we were so overwhelmed with the ceremony and everyone’s love and well wishes. We took that time to relax and have a cuddle and a chat before the exciting celebrations ahead. We arrived at a red carpet leading us inside the Heritage in Portlaoise. I am so glad that we went with this venue, they were amazing and so accommodating. We had originally booked the Heritage in Killenard and it was only going to be a small wedding with a large afters. We booked the day of the wedding fair and the next day they called us back to cancel our booking as the meal was only for 30+ people and it was too small. I was heartbroken, but in hindsight it worked out for the best. A few weeks later the wedding fair was on in Portlaoise, again we booked for a small meal and a large afters. They were happy to take the booking and helped with all our questions. The next day after discussions with my parents the guest list went from 30+ to 200. Portlaoise was the perfect venue, they provided us with loads of choices and accommodated us with everything we wanted and needed. It was an amazing day from start to finish.

There was a champagne reception with canapes and music playing in the background. We were able to enjoy a chat with a few of the guests before being called for dinner. We decided to have the speeches before dinner, Sean was so nervous that he said he wouldn’t be able to eat knowing he had to speak. Sean’s brother was the best man and he was the MC, introducing us as husband and wife and handing the mike over to my Daddy. His speech was so heart felt and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Actually, looking back all the speeches were tear jerkers and everyone was crying. My sister Tara said a few words, Sean and I spoke and Conleth, Sean’s brother and his Mam also spoke. Then it was down to the meal.

The day flew by and it was a whirlwind of excitement. The band that played were called Epic, they have since reformed as The Electrix. Damien Carroll the lead singer was brilliant and they got everyone on the floor after the first dance, which was “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. This song is so special to us and has been our anthem for years. It was amazing that when we went to get Nathan’s 3D scan that this song was playing in the background and was used as the music on the DVD of the scan we took away with us. The second song was one of my Dad’s favourites, “Simply The Best”. Him and I had such a good dance that at some stage he spun me and I landed on my bum. He got too excited. I was up as quick as I went down and not many people noticed.

The cake was made by Bernie Gorman of House of Cakes. She called in to my house for a consultation and everything we discussed was brought to life on the cake. It was a castle of course, because I secretly I wished I was a princess. There were icing cut outs of the wedding party going up the stairs of the cake with Sean and I at the castle doors. There were also 3D butterflies going up the cake. The theme for the tables was different breeds of butterflies and the invitations and mass booklets all had butterflies on them too.

The videographer (Les) had set up in the lobby outside the function room and had loads of different groups singing along to Barry White. It was such a good addition to the day as everyone embraced it and the DVD turned out great. The afters came around so quick and when the band took a break Sean and I decided to disappear for a few minutes. I had bought a lighter wedding dress from Monsoon in Kildare Village so that I could change into it later in the night. I was never so glad to get out of my wedding dress. I bought my dress in Berketex Brides upstairs in the Jervis Centre, it was my dream dress and I fell in love with it. Mam came with me to pick it and it was so nice to have that moment together. Afterwards we went to St Mary’s Chapel for dome champagne and dinner.

As I said earlier the day was very hot and with all the too-ing and fro-ing I was roasting under all the tulle. I put my hair into a shower cap and had a cool shower. I felt so refreshed we were able to go back down to the party and appreciate it more after taking those few minutes to ourselves.

The dancing went on all night and last few stragglers hit the residents bar. There was great laughter and reminiscing done when the crowd thinned out and we even had a performance of Braveheart from my cousin dedicated to Daddy. Tears of laughter flowed from everyone’s eyes. I only watched the video recently of the performance and it was so funny. The bar staff brought out some sandwiches to soak up the drink and Sean and I left around 3am. It was the perfect day from start to finish and I cherish the memories deeply in my heart. We are so lucky to have such amazing families and friends and they all got to share our special day with us.

Baby Number 2

We got married In June 2011, just a year after having Nathan. It was our plan to have another baby as soon as possible after getting married so they would be close in age. We jetted off on honeymoon, nowhere exotic, it was just a break away. I assumed that we would get pregnant straight away like we did with Nathan but my body had different ideas. It took us until October to conceive and that is when we decided to take a break from trying and just relax. In hindsight, it wasn’t that long at all, but like now, you feel it every time you get your periods. I had just started a new job and I was thrilled with myself, 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant. The whirlwind begun.

I was very nauseous on this pregnancy too but it wasn’t like the last time. I was thrilled and had a good attitude but I couldn’t help the waves that presented themselves on more than a few occasions each day. My sense of smell was heightened and the women I shared an office with drank coffee all the time. I had to run to the bathrooms most days. Any slight smell would set me off. It was hard to conceal it in work. Our Christmas party was coming up and we were going away for the night. I had to pretend I was drinking all night to try get away with it.

After Christmas I started to get pains in my lower right side, and a few days later I decided it was time to go to the doctors to have it checked out. Of course, the doctor was airing on the side of caution and sent me to A&E in case it was appendicitis. I was so worried because I didn’t want to do anything to harm the baby, like having to go under anaesthetic. I was seen to very quickly and an ultrasound was arranged to see if it was in fact my appendix. Anyway, long story short it wasn’t appendicitis because it’s still intact but at the time they couldn’t give me a definitive answer. It was a worrying few days.

The nausea went away for a few weeks but came back with a bang in January and February. It got so bad that I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. I was dehydrated and so tired. I went down to the doctors to see if there was anything they could give me to stop me from getting sick. At the time, he gave me an injection as I was a few days without food and that wasn’t healthy.

The pregnancy progressed and we went for our 3D scan, like we did on Nathan. This time we were sure we wanted to find out. It’s a boy!!! Another boy, Nathan was thrilled to be having a baby brother. There was great excitement when we got home to tell Mam and Dad and my sisters. I also took a trip down to my aunties house and showed her the pictures from the scan. We sat out on her decking and it was very emotional as I started by saying “meet your Godson”. I know it’s premature to ask so early but I knew I wanted her as Jacob’s Godmother. She is a great mammy and has always been there for me and I treat her two children as my own too. There is only 12 years between us and from changing my nappies as a baby to now, we are very close.

After one of my check-ups it was noticed that I had a kidney infection and I was admitted into hospital again. I wasn’t feeling any discomfort so it took me by surprise and with Nathan not even two at home it was harder to just think of yourself. Nathan was so cute and well up and he loved his mammy. We have a very special bond, so as hard as it was for me to be away from him, it was even harder for him as he didn’t understand. I was released after a few days and told to continue taking antibiotics.

A whirlwind, I told you. It was coming near my due date and I was attending the gynaecologist for a check-up. Mam was with me that day and it was lovely for her to come and see baby growing inside. After all the usual checks were performed it was time for a chat. I wanted to discuss an elective section. The Doctor was not happy, she said that after one section that I could have a natural labour this time. I could not be convinced. The trauma of the last delivery was in the back of my head and it was likely that I would have to be sectioned anyway as the labour progressed so I wasn’t taking any chances. She then listed off all the risks of having a C-section including harm to the baby and that I could die. Very dramatic, but I suppose they have to cover themselves. I was adamant and at my next appointment my date was set.

In the meantime, it was normal life, I was working away until two weeks before, everything was packed in the suitcase, unpacked, and packed again. Babies room was ready and all the equipment like car seats and buggy was ready to be used. We just needed baby. A week before my delivery date we had my cousins wedding. I was as big as a beached whale with a week to go and the big idiot that I am decided it would be a great idea to wear my clip in hair extensions. I was being cooked underneath them. Sean and I snuck out to the car after dinner and he helped me get them out, oh the relief! It was a great night but we retired early around 12pm.  It was nice to be a part of her day and to enjoy all the family before our big day. It was like I had a fortune teller’s crystal ball as everyone was rubbing my belly all day. People are drawn to the bump. Just remember it doesn’t have magical powers.

In the week leading up to going into hospital we were busy getting ready. I went down town one evening before Sean finished work to pick up flowers and a thank you card to midwife that worked in the clinic who was so helpful throughout this pregnancy and the last. I was getting back into the car after picking up flowers from the florist and Nathan pulled his hand out of mine and darted out onto the road into oncoming traffic. The car that was coming slammed on his breaks but there was still an impact. Nathan fell to the ground with fright and I ran onto the road to pick him up. How easily it can happen, he just got excited and pulled away from me. He was ok, thank god as the car had slowed so much. I was just worried about him and in shock.

I called Sean and he came down to me immediately. I was cradling Nathan in the front seat of the car, thanking god nothing serious happened. The girlfriend of the driver gave me her number and they moved on after making sure Nathan was ok. They were in shock too. I didn’t leave the house again until it was time to go to hospital. I feared going into labour from the shock so I just stayed put and cuddled Nathan for a few days.

The morning of my delivery was so exciting. I could nearly burst. I couldn’t wait to get to hospital. I didn’t tell many people my delivery date so that we could go over there in peace and not have people ringing all day. We got the hospital and there was another couple just in the door before us. You should have heard Sean giving out, we should have got here quicker, walked faster from the car – hello pregnant lady here, swollen feet, dislodged pelvis, do you want to carry me??? I didn’t mind, he was coming today, we only had to wait a few hours. Lazy bones was pacing the hospital room, come on, where are they, is it our turn yet? He was worse than a child. A one stage he laid his head down against my bump on the bed and fell asleep. Well for him!

In walked the porter, it was time. Up on the gurney I climbed and away we went. I was more nervous this time around as I knew what was coming. Im terrified of needles and the spinal was freaking me out. It took what felt like forever to get the needle in and there was even talk of putting me asleep – hell no. I was meeting my baby, not waiting a few hours. They eventually secured the line and it was time to get started. In walked the Doctor and her understudy and the section begun. I was sick again after the spinal but it passed quickly, this time I was prepared and told the nurse ahead of time that it was a possibility. As the doctor got closer to baby she asked if I suffered with indigestion. I said no as this was never an issue thank god. She went on to say that baby had a full head of hair. He was lifted out a few minutes later and I was given a peak over the screen. While she held him up he peed all over her. I knew then he was going to be trouble.

Baby Jacob Felim was born at 12pm weighing 8lbs 8oz with a full head of black hair and again the image of this Daddy. After the midwife checked him out he was given to Sean for cuddles, he laid him down beside me on the head of the theatre bed and I snuggled into him for kisses and cuddles. He was finally here. Doctor then said that while I was already open that there was a cyst on my ovary that would annoy her on any future scans and if she could remove it. I told her to work away, I was too busy looking at Jacob. When the cyst was out she gave me a sneaky look and then it was into recovery. The hospital had changed its policy since I had Nathan and now they allowed skin to skin for mammy in recovery. Sean had to leave and went back to the room. It was so special to have that half hour with Jacob to myself. He latched on very easily and was so content on my chest.

The excitement begun as calls and texts began to roll in, visitors were over and Jacob was cuddled by his nearest and dearest. I had asked that only immediate family visit that day so I could rest and it also gave Nathan a chance to meet his baby brother in private. He was so excited to see me and he climbed up on the bed for cuddles. My first boy was no longer the baby and it’s like he grew into a giant overnight. I couldn’t get over the size of his hands, he was a big boy now. He brought in a teddy for Jacob and gave him a kiss on the head while Nanny cuddled him. The cuteness.

When everyone went home that night and Sean left, Jacob had a feed and went to sleep. I was wrecked and floated off to sleep too. Next thing I know it was morning and the nurses were poking at me taking my temperature and the rest. Jacob had slept all night and was happy wrapped in his little cocoon. I fed him shortly afterwards and we waited for Daddy to come in. I was never so happy to have a shower. Later that day the doctors were around and worried that Jacob was slightly Jaundice. They did the Bilirubin test and they said he was just under the level but was ok, so I relaxed and thought nothing more of it. Later again a younger doctor came back to check Jacob with a group of student doctors. He checked Jacob again with the bilirubinometer and although the levels were close to normal and the same as earlier he decided to do a blood test. I was so annoyed and reluctantly allowed him to proceed. The results came back normal and I told him I didn’t appreciate my new-born baby being used as a guinea pig for his students to learn something.

With all the stress of earlier that day, or so I thought, I got a terrible pain down my arm and into my shoulders. I just ignored it for as long as I could until it became unbearable. The pain went into the top of my back and down the other arm. My head was thumping. The anaesthetist was called as they were worried that there was a leakage of spinal fluid and they may have to do a blood patch. Thankfully it started to subside and the pains were due to trapped air, as I was sectioned and then had a cyst removed, I was open for a while. The air travelled to the top and that’s what was causing the pain. I was wondering why for the last few days the nurses and midwives were asking if I was passing wind, I thought it was a bit personal.

The next day came and Jacob and I were released from hospital, such a relief to get home to my own environment and to Nathan. It was bliss, a shower and to lie in my own bed. I had Nathan one side, Jacob lying on my belly and Sean the other side. I couldn’t have asked for anything more …………………

To be continued

 

Unanswered Prayers

My birthday was finally here, I was awoken like most mornings with a smile and a squeeze from Nathan, he is always the first up in the mornings. Jacob was soon to follow. Sean got up and got my presents and the boys were full of excitement giving them to me. We put on Bruno Mars “Perm” and had a little disco in the bed. The opening line is “It’s my birthday (No it’s not) ……”. After our sing song and the boys shaking there moves, it was time to get up and get organised. Bathroom first and then……. My periods had arrived. As prepared as you are for them to come, there is always disappointment. It hit me like a blow to the chest and I was crying uncontrollably in the bathroom. Sean came to see what was the matter, the boys were down stairs having their breakfast. He hugged me and told me everything was going to be ok and it will happen when it’s supposed to and all the usual things a man says when he really has no clue how their wife is feeling at that moment but is instinct is to make it better. I was inconsolable.

Tears as big as golf balls streamed down my face for what seemed like hours, I felt drained and my heart was hurting. I had to pull myself together. It was my birthday, I had to go to work. I had so much to be thankful for. I got ready and set off, on the way I called the chemist and ordered my medication for this cycle, I am always worried to order it before I get my periods in case I am giving up hope and with that maybe brings bad luck. Always stay positive until reality hits. Work wasn’t too bad. I work with my Dad so I got a big birthday hug when I arrived. His business partner heard me talking about buying a BBQ and gave me one of the commercial ones we have on sale in the showrooms. The day was starting to look up.

I called my gynaecologist that I visited in January to arrange follicle tracking for February. She too prescribed me hormones to take at the beginning of each cycle but I decided to stay with the medication from the clinic in Dublin as it was a full treatment of each cycle from start to finish. I was booked in for Day 9, which to me was too early and I explained that I don’t usually ovulate until day 15/16. No it was Day 9 and that was it. This worked out to be a Friday and as I only work a half day on a Friday I decided to book the day off.

In a bid to cheer me up Sean booked Kelly’s Steakhouse for dinner that night and I organised my sister to babysit. The food was fabulous as usual and we had a great evening. I even treated myself to some wine. It was straight to bed after dinner. Friday was a busy day. I had work for a few hours and then off to the local GAA Dinner Dance. When I got home it was off to the blow dry bar for GHD curls and then to get my make-up done. My neighbour is a make-up artist and she is amazing. She always makes me look and feel great. I wore a black jumpsuit from Joanna Hope purchased from the Simply Be website. It was bedazzled and very flattering.

It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was able to relax and unwind. I met the midwife from the clinics that we attended during both pregnancies and she was always so good to us. I told her my situation briefly and she said to hang in there, to continue taking the metformin and it should start to work in the next couple of months. I needed to hear that and get her reassurance. I was obviously meant to go to the Dinner Dance and meet her that night.

The month continued and I took the hormones on day three and day four. This month they had been increased to ten from seven to see if this had any affect. I went for my follicle tracking in the early pregnancy unit in Portlaoise on day nine of my cycle. It was great to go as it gives you some indication of what’s happening on the inside and if your body is responding well to the drugs. The lady who did it for me was amazing, she was so kind and helpful and had great advice for me that I had never heard before. She suggested taking Exputex as this would help me produce more mucus each cycle. You should take it in the days coming up to ovulation. She also suggested that both Sean and I start taking Co-Enzyme Q10 as it helps strengthen the head of the sperm to aid penetrating the hard exterior of the egg and also should help me produce better quality eggs. There are loads of more reasons why to use these supplements but they are the main ones.

That day my largest follicle on my right-side measured 21mm. This was a big improvement to last cycle and I was over the moon. I went out to the car and called my fertility advisor straight away. She suggested calling the clinic, which I did next. They wanted me to take the HCG injection the next day. A mature follicle that is due to rupture usually reaches 24mm, on their advice, so I was very close. Once the injection is given, it causes the follicle to rupture within 36 hours and then ovulation occurs. The reason behind the injections is to ensure that the follicles rupture as sometimes this process doesn’t occur. As it happened the next morning I got a smiley face on my ovulation test which indicated an LH surge. I was good to go. I called Mary and made arrangements to see her that evening.

This cycle progressed normally, the progesterone was not really affecting me as badly anymore and I started taking Femtab this cycle to bring up my Oestrogen levels. On day twenty (peak plus seven) I got my bloods done and the results came back a few days later. My Oestrogen levels had come back up to 605, I was thrilled but the progesterone was still low at 42.6. It’s so frustrating, one without the other is no good and I had to prepare myself for disappointment again this month.

As it happened my periods were late, I got very excited and was praying for a miracle. In the back of my mind I was excited. A year previous I had lost a very special uncle and I pray to him and Nana all the time to send me a baby, put a good word in. It was coming up to his 1st year anniversary and my periods were nowhere to be seen, I thought my prayers had been answered. But it was not meant to be. They came a few days later and again I went through the same emotions as last month. I felt myself slipping under the dark cloud again, I thought this month was it, I felt like I was being teased with them being late. It’s not fair. I would love that baby so much and I honestly considered giving up treatment. I had a review appointment with the clinic in Dublin that I made in November and I postponed it. I couldn’t face it, it wasn’t going to affect this cycle regardless as it had begun already, so what was the point until I figured things out in my own head.

It’s so hard every day to face infertility issues. I know I have my beautiful boys and they are what keep me going. However, they are constantly asking for a new baby, especially my oldest boy, he loves kids and is so kind and gentle with them. He likes to talk before bed every night and have cuddles and asks when Holy God is going to send us a baby. He plans if it’s a girl or a boy depending on his mood that day and he picks out the baby’s name. He tells me he wants the baby to sleep with him and we laugh and joke about him changing dirty nappies. He refers to the spare room as the baby’s room and we have all got into that habit now. I always tell him our baby is not ready yet but Holy God will put it into Mammy’s belly as soon as he/she is. Kids are so accepting, this is all he needs to hear and off he goes to bed. Kids are so resilient, there innocence to the big bad world is something to cherish. Keep the problems away and let them just enjoy their childhood.

Oh to be a child again ……………………………………

To be continued

January Blues

Christmas came and went and there was great excitement in our house, the boys were thrilled and totally spoilt as per usual. I didn’t have a drink Christmas day as I had entered the second half of my cycle and didn’t want to take any chances. I usually allow myself to have a night out or a few drinks around the beginning of each cycle to wind down and drown my sorrows. I started the progesterone again this month and they were not agreeing with me. I had heartburn constantly and was living on gaviscon. I couldn’t enjoy food at all and felt nauseous for the whole week. Instead of a night out in the pub Sean and I went to the cinema and then to Kelly’s Steakhouse to for something to eat. It was our first time there since it reopened. The meal was amazing, eyes were way bigger than my belly and I suffered for it afterwards.

I was optimistic this month, naive really to think it would happen as soon as I started the hormones. But my emotions took over. A late Christmas present from Santa. We had a quite night in for New Years and I got my results from my blood test a few days into the New Year. They weren’t good. Oestradiol had gone down slightly from last month and my progesterone levels had plummeted. I was heartbroken. I knew my periods would be coming in the next day or two and I was trying to prepare myself.  A few days later I decided to email my consultant, I was confused and frustrated and needed some guidance.

In the email, I basically said that I wanted more information on how the whole process worked. I could not understand why my Oestradiol had halved since starting the medication and why my body was not reacting to the progesterone. I like to know what exactly is going on in my body and have all the information. The email I received back three days later was not helpful at all. It did not address any of my questions and basically suggested that I look into fertility counselling. I didn’t need counselling, I just needed answers. This upset me more.

I had booked follicle tracking for Day 12 as requested by the clinic and just focused on this for the following days. Day 12 was a Saturday morning. The boys had a birthday party in the local play zone for their cousin’s birthday and I went to get the tracking done. It was my left side that was active and there were two follicle’s 11mm each. This information was forwarded to my consultant in Dublin. I got all my answers from the Doctor that did my follicle tracking, she was very understanding and helpful and although I was upset leaving the clinic I had more information than before. I knew now that the progesterone levels were only being topped up by the medication I was taking. That if I had a result of 33 that this meant I probably only had somewhere in the region of the teens or twenties and the meds just topped it up to 33. Therefore, it indicated I had a poor ovulation or none at all the previous month. Knowledge is key and without it you are doing it blind.

My consultant in Dublin called me first thing on Monday morning and wanted me to go for another scan that day. Said that there were no dominant follicles and another scan would give her more information. At €100 per scan it wasn’t just as easy as of course no problem. I was annoyed and said no that I couldn’t go today and that I had one booked for Saturday. Curiosity got the better of me and I called the local clinic to see if they could fit me in. They squeezed me in for after work. This time it showed that both follicles had grown to just above 15mm. This information was also passed on to the clinic and I received a call the following morning. I was now on Day 15 of my cycle and was not testing positive for an LH surge on my ovulation indicators. I also had no mucus present to indicate ovulation. So frustrating! I couldn’t take the HCG injection without any clear indication of ovulation.

It got to Thursday and there was still no positive result. I called my fertility advisor for some advice. We both agreed that I should bring my Saturday appointment for follicle tracking back to today to see what’s going on. So, off I went again, another €100. This time the scan showed that the follicles had ruptured and that there was fluid in my pelvis. The doctor in the local clinic was happy with the cycle in her opinion but the clinic was not convinced. I suppose the blood tests would give a better picture of what was going on this month. They weren’t good, my progesterone was at 37, no move from last month and my Oestradiol had halved again. It started at 533 and was now at 156. What was going on? I rang the results into the clinic and they agreed to increase my Letrozole from 7 tablets to 10 and also to put be on Femtab which was to increase my oestrogen levels.

The end of the month was coming, January was nearly over. I can honestly say looking back it now I was so depressed for the whole month. I didn’t want to socialise, I barely wanted to get out of bed, I was struggling to hold back the tears most days and honestly questioned what was the point. My birthday was coming up at the beginning of February and as it happened by periods were due that day. Talk about trying to ruin the birthday buzz. I got a phone call from a friend to attend the local football club’s dinner dance. I gave myself a kick in the bum and tried to come out of my slump before my periods arrived. I figured if I didn’t take control not only would it ruin my birthday but it was going to be harder to dig myself out from under the cloud once I got my next periods. I started back at the gym and made plans to get out of the house. I got my nails done and bought a new outfit for the dinner dance. I put on a brave face and got on with it………

To be continued

Baby’s Arrival

Today was definitely the day, contractions were coming strong with really no break in between. Around lunch time I called Sean to come home from work. I remember sitting in mam’s waiting for him to come home with my face buried into the side of the arm chair. Although the pain was not pleasant I was bursting with excitement. Sean picked me up and it was straight to the hospital, he may have broken a few speed limits along the way. He dropped me at the door and parked the car. I remember holding myself up on the bollard outside the hospital when my cousin and her boyfriend walked past.

I went upstairs to be assessed and was assigned a midwife. I was barely 2cm – seriously what was the pain all about so. She showed me to my bed and told me to go have a bath. Bad idea, I got into the bath like a beached whale. I had nothing to grip onto when the pains got strong. And oh boy, they went from bad to worse. I got out of the bath with great difficulty, I was like a contortionist. Sean helped me to dry myself and get dressed and he went off to get the midwife. She escorted us to the delivery rooms and that’s when the fun began.

Baby was sunshine, meaning his spine was against my spine, this was causing so much pain in my back. One of the housekeeping ladies popped in and brought me some toast and orange juice. I didn’t eat it all maybe just a bite or two and a sup of the drink. Sean was rubbing my back and the midwife was busying herself getting prepared for what was to come. They started talking and somehow knew each other’s families and got into a great conversation. Hello! I am still here in pain. Rub my back. Grrrrrr!

I was not progressing much, cm’s hadn’t changed and a decision was made to break my waters. At this stage, my Mammy had arrived and Sean stepped out for air. The doctor came in and broke my waters and there was meconium present. All hell broke loose and the pains got worser. 😊 The registrar on duty came in and said that I would be ok that process would be very slow and to proceed with a normal delivery – Epidural, anybody. I was sucking on gas with no relief.

Next thing the midwives start talking amongst themselves, they noticed something on the trace with regards to baby’s breathing. They weren’t saying much to us but I knew something was wrong. Mam kept asking for information but they ignored her. The gynaecologist on duty was called who happened to be the same one that delivered myself and Sean all those years ago. Thank god for him as I wouldn’t like to think of what could have happened. An emergency section was called for immediately. Baby was struggling and needed to be delivered asap.

I got a terrible fright and really did not want to be sectioned. It wasn’t in my plan and I was scared. Sean wasn’t here either and I later found out that they wouldn’t let him back in as my mam was in with me. A gurney was brought into the labour ward to transport me down to theatre, I could barely move with the pain and the midwife that wouldn’t give us any information was beside me. I asked her to help me up off the bed and she said no – she didn’t want to hurt her back. She definitely won’t be on my Christmas card list. Sean was outside the labour ward waiting on me. He got a terrible fright as he didn’t know what was going on. Mam hung back for a minute and had a stern word with the midwife for withholding information and being down right rude.

It was off to theatre. It was such a rush, I was brought in and placed on the operating bed, I was asked to sit very still heaped over while they inserted the epidural/spinal – which mid contraction is very difficult to do. Success they were in. Instant relief. No nicer feeling, honestly. After having contractions on and off for a few days and the intense last few hours it was amazing. I felt a cold tingle down one leg and then down the other. No more pain. They did their checks to make sure it worked and the screen went up, they were ready to go. Sean was brought in at that stage and I was more worried about him seeing anything gory as he is so squeamish.

After getting the epidural I felt the need to get sick, I was given anti-nausea meds but it didn’t help. Damm that lady who gave me toast and orange juice! Incisions were made and baby was delivered. He was checked first and then brought to me. He was gorgeous, Nathan was born at 8pm weighing 8lbs. He had lovely black hair and was the image of his daddy. Sean and I sat there starring at him for a few minutes before the midwife and Sean brought him upstairs to check him out and get him dressed. Time in recovery was the longest half hour of my life.

Eventually I was brought back upstairs on the bed and was met by Sean and Nathan in the hall. Mam and Dad were waiting outside my room door and it was all hugs, kisses, and tears of joy. I was reunited with Nathan and everyone got their cuddles. Mam and Dad left soon afterwards and Sean and I memorised every part of our baby. I was so happy and overjoyed to have him with me finally. It was hard to put him down, the cuteness. Pictures were taken, phone calls were made and text messages were sent. He had arrived and we wanted the world to know. The drama of the day was behind us and forgotten about, it didn’t matter now that he was here…………………….………

To be continued

 

First Pregnancy

There is no better feeling in the world than holding your baby for the first time, their smell, their tiny fingers, and toes, how actually small they are. Your emotions are over flowing and it all becomes real. This little baby you have been growing inside of you for 9 months has finally graced you with their presence. You’re in love, a love that is like no other, a love that fills you with joy from head to toe. Your protective side kicks in and when the nurse takes your baby to dress him and make sure everything is ok, you watch her, you watch her every move, making sure your little person is safe. Not taking into consideration that the nurse or midwife works with baby’s every day or that this is what he/she is trained to do. She has your baby now and she’s not worthy.

Let me take you back to the beginning. Deciding to have a baby and change our lives for the better was easy for me. I wanted a baby forever, I was always broody and surrounded myself with children, especially my cousins growing up. I felt like I was a part of their lives and them apart of mine. I was first to offer to babysit. I remember traveling across the country as a teenager to spend time with the first-born cousin in a long time. I was obsessed. My aunt that lived locally had a baby a few years later and I nearly moved in. I was 6 years old when my youngest sister was born and she was so precious to me. I mothered her and still to this day have to be reminded that she has one mother and my role is a sister.

It took Sean a little longer to come around to the idea. I think it’s different for men, he was being practical and was thinking with his head and not his heart. Can we afford a baby, are we ready, it is the right time? He came around in the end. We went to Manchester for a few days in the August to see a match and stayed with Family. We had a great time and really relaxed. We had decided we would try when we got back. We figured it would take a while for it to happen. Little did we know that God had different plans. We got pregnant first time, how simple it was looking back at it compared to our struggles now.

As you will see from yesterday’s post we got engaged in September and two weeks later found out we were pregnant. I remember going up stairs to unpack from our night way and doing the test. When the results were, in I couldn’t believe. Although I instinctively knew, I was still in shock. I nervously called Sean upstairs and showed him the test. He hugged me but I could see he was struggling to digest it all. He went back down stairs to watch the match and I busied myself upstairs. I came down a few minutes later and offered to go pick us up some dinner. I wanted to leave him to his thoughts until he was ready to talk to me. When I got back we went outside as it was a nice day to eat our food and my cousins arrived, they were staying over for the night. When they went to bed later that night we sat down and had a great chat, Sean was delighted and I knew he just needed time to process everything.

It was then time to tell our families. We called to my parents’ house first. I was so nervous. I had participated in a fitness camp over the previous few weeks and signed up for the next one. Mam mentioned the camp and was asking what nights was it on. This was my cue. I said I won’t be able to take part this time, why she said? Nervously I told her and she was thrilled. She told Daddy straight away and they both hugged and congratulated us. Daddy made a joke and said now he was married to Granny and I knew they were ok with the news. My sisters were there too that day and everyone was told in my house. Off to Sean’s Mothers house.

When we got there his sister happened to be there too as well as a few of his brothers. We went into his Mam’s room and told his Mam and sister first and then told his brothers. There was great excitement. The hard bit was over. I don’t know why we were so nervous. We were adults, had bought our own house the year previous and were now engaged to be married. I suppose it’s only natural.

I went to the doctors on the Monday morning after finding out, he thought it may not show up yet on their tests as it was so early, but it did. All my information was sent to the hospital to get me in with a consultant and to arrange the first scan. It wasn’t will all this was over the nausea started. For weeks I was so nauseous, until one day my mam said to me on the phone during a moaning session; “You will never be pregnant again for the first time, don’t waste it moaning and feeling sorry for yourself, enjoy it”. It was the kick in the bum I needed. I just got over myself. Mind over matter.

I loved every minute of being pregnant, every scan, every kick, every hiccup. I loved it. It was the miracle of life. At 24 weeks, we went to Blackrock for a 3D scan. I was dying to find out the gender, Sean was on the fence as usual. But when the scan started he was sold. He wanted to know who he was looking at. Our son. He was the image of his Daddy; strange I know but his features were the same. That was an amazing time for both of us. On the way home, we picked his name and stopped in Newbridge to pick up his letters for his Nursery.

Time flew to the end and I was nesting for weeks. The house was ready but no sign of baby. We got to term plus 4, it was a bank holiday Monday and I woke with contractions, they were mild but happening. It was 6:50am and I rang Mammy. The excitement began. She said to come straight to her house and be there until I needed to go to hospital. The day passed by and the contractions came and went. I was ready for my baby and had planned to have a natural birth. It got to the early hours of Tuesday morning and Sean and I went to the hospital. I was assessed and given a bed. No move and I was discharged as quick on the Tuesday as the contractions stopped for a few hours. I was exhausted and glad to get home to Mammy’s for a sleep. I slept well on Tuesday night but the contractions woke me again on Wednesday morning. Today was the day………………………

To be continued

Getting Engaged

On the Friday 11th of September 2009 Sean asked me to marry him. It was a whirlwind of excitement. Sean had arranged that we both had the day off work. I was blind folded that morning and put into the car, prepared for the surprise ahead. We got to Emo Court and Sean took me for a walk. He had a bag in his hand and wouldn’t tell me what it was. I hate surprises, I was not born with no patience and the suspense was killing me to know what was in the bag. He took me down a path that was covered in trees, like a tunnel.

Approximately half way down we stopped and out of the bag came a box. Very intriguing!!! Sean held it while I opened it and inside was a bottle of champagne and stuck to the front of it was a little note saying, “Will You Marry Me”. I couldn’t believe and it was so overwhelmed. I hugged him straight away and we were both very emotional. A few minutes later he said, “You didn’t answer me”. Oooops I got carried away – forgot to say Yes! Of course, it was YES!

We stayed in Emo for a few minutes, Sean carved our initials and the date into the tree beside us, but the excitement was bursting. We made it back to the car and I called my Mammy straight away. She was screaming and shouting with excitement down the phone and couldn’t believe it. I called my Dad (who already knew – fill you in later) and then called my sisters and my closest family and friends. Mam did the rest. Sean called his family too. We went back to Mammy’s house to fill her in properly and then it was on to Newbridge to pick a ring.

Fields in Newbridge was our jewellers of choice – Sean had it prearranged and they were so helpful. Rings were coming from everywhere but of course it was the first one I tried on that I went back to. It had to be ordered as they didn’t have my size. Heart-breaking to come away without my ring but it was worth the wait. We met up in the local pub for drinks that night to celebrate with my family. And the following night we went to celebrate with Sean’s family. An amazing weekend.

Sean went for a drink with my Dad the night before the engagement in Dad’s local pub. I wasn’t really that suspicious as we were both off the next day so why not. Dad goes out most Thursday nights so he just joined him. I later found out that the reason behind this night out was Sean wanted to ask him for his blessing for my hand in marriage before he asked me. Old fashioned I know, but it was a mark of respect and Daddy really appreciated it. So, did I. The next day, Friday, Daddy knew what was coming. He kept ringing Mam all morning asking her if she had any news. She thought he was going mad. He would never ring her so often.

We planned an engagement party for four weeks’ time, Sean’s family were heading away on holidays for a few weeks so we wanted to make sure everyone was there. We are from different towns not far from each other so instead of picking one over the other we settled on neutral territory – The Fisherman’s Inn. It was perfect for a great night.

In the meantime, we had booked a night away in The Killerig Resort in Carlow. It was a gift from Fields when we purchased our ring. We made the booking for 2 weeks after we got engaged. It was lovely to get away and step back from the madness that ensued with getting engaged. The hotel was gorgeous and we were upgraded to a Junior Suite. We had a beautiful dinner in the hotel and I had a glass of wine. It didn’t taste right. Strange, it would be my drink of choice. I said it to Sean and said I just wasn’t feeling it tonight. We went back up to the room after dinner and got an early night. The next day came and I was aware that my periods were due but no sign. Only a day late so wasn’t getting too worried. On the way home I got Sean to stop at the chemist and I picked up a pregnancy test just in case. As I said no patience.

When we got home there was a match on. Sean made himself comfortable on the couch and I went to unpack. I did the test and continued doing a few jobs. The results were in, it was positive. As clear as day, Pregnant 3-4 weeks………………………………………………………………

To be continued

Sitting Room Makeover

Your couch is a very important part of your family life, from the obvious relaxing and watching tv to all its other functions such as:

  • Changing baby’s nappies
  • Eating your Saturday night takeaway
  • Kids enjoying popcorn and a movie with their friends
  • Your almost one year old pulling himself up and getting steady on his feet as he walks holding on to it.

It’s a very special piece of furniture but ours was looking old and tired. We bought it about 7 years ago, pre-children. It replaced a leather suite that Sean had picked out when we first moved in, but it annoyed me deeply and I didn’t find it comfortable. One day I decided enough was enough and I put it on Done Deal. It may have been briefly discussed at some stage, maybe when Sean was falling asleep but it definitely wasn’t agreed on, as I was later told. The ad was up with pictures and within the hour Sean received a phone call from a local man coming to collect his furniture. Oooops I should have put my number on the ad, that was an awkward conversation. He got over it!!!

The suite we replaced it with was a newer version of the couch you can see below. It was so cosy. We got a three-seater couch and a one seater. Within the first two weeks I came home one evening to find a hole chewed into the seat cushion on the three-seater couch, all the stuffing was pulled out and that was the end of the new couch. From then we covered the seat cushions with blankets.

The poor couch had threads pulled out from everywhere, the cushion was ripped as I said, the frame on the three-seater was shaky and broken as we later found out and it was time for a makeover. I contacted local upholster Quality Upholstery. I sent them pictures of my suite on Facebook messenger and they sent me back a price and the amount of material I would need. I decided that it would be great if I had a two seater to replace the one seater. Trying to expand the family and room for visitors to sit, it would definitely be more beneficial to have more seats. I scoured Done Deal and narrowed it down to a few options. I finally settled on a couch in Wexford as pictured below. It was €40 and a lot worse than mine, but who cared, all I needed was the frame. Off my husband and his friend went on a warm summers evening down to Wexford and back after work one evening. He must really love me!!!

That weekend my sister and I went to Newbridge to the Fabric Outlet to pick out fabric. I knew I wanted grey but I had so many options to choose from. You need another person with you to help choose, you have to pull out rolls of fabric and place them beside each other to make sure they match and another pair of eyes is essential. After an hour of trawling the shop we settled on the Grey and White Triangular patterned fabric. It was easy to pick the base, I needed something darker as that is where little toes first touch as they are climbing up with dirty shoes. It was harder to pick the cushion fabric, the accent colours. The staff in the Fabric Outlet were run off their feet, the place is so busy but when it came to my turn they were very helpful and full of ideas. They cut extra fabric for me as I had changed from a one-seater to a two-seater and off I went. The fabric was so reasonable only 4.95 per metre. You can find them online at www.fabricoutlet.ie or on Facebook @fabricoutlet.ie.

Phil and her husband Murt collected our furniture on a Thursday evening, including our ottoman and said they would be back in a few days. I asked for our ottoman to be converted into a storage box so that I could use it for storage of dvds. Nothing could have prepared me for the finished piece, it was amazing, out of this world. You can see from the pictures below that it was a total transformation. The frame was fixed on the three-seater. We were lucky to pick up three large cushions in a warehouse that were going to be thrown out, for the back as these are expensive to buy and they really help fill out the back of the couch and make it look so much grander. The two-seater looks great and was a bargain and they look amazing in the sitting room.

While the couches were gone, we repainted the walls with a lilac/grey colour and changed the wall paper on the chimney breast. We also previously ripped out the fire place as it was never used and placed an electric stove into the alcove for effect. Removing the hearth off the floor has given us so much more room and floor space. The new floor boards were laid and it looks like a new house.

To add some cosiness I ordered a mat from Dennis McGinley carpets in Portlaoise. I wanted a large mat to fit between the couch and the ottoman and I wanted it very high pile and cosy under your toes. The boys love to sit and watch telly on the mat and they play on the floor a lot so it was important that it was comfy and warm. It was a bargain, I chose the carpet I liked and Dennis arranged for the size I wanted to be piped around the edges from a lady in Portlaoise.

It didn’t help that I had bought a mat two weeks previous in Dunnes for the sitting room that was put down for a day and is still rolled up upstairs. Oooops again!!!!

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So Tired and Sad – Help Me!!!

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Food Intolerance Test Results

As part of the fertility treatment the Neo Fertility Clinic suggested a Food Intolerance Test which I had done just over two weeks ago. The consultant took a vile of my blood and sent if off to be analysed. The reason behind this is that some foods can act as fertility blockages for example: wheat and dairy.

Well the results are in; my life is over 😊 Dramatic or what!! I have intolerances towards the following foods:

  • 95 Milk (cow)
  • 52 Potato
  • 51 Milk (Goat)
  • 50 Cashew Nut
  • 47 Corn (Maize)
  • 47 Yeast (Brewer’s)
  • 43 Barley
  • 41 Wheat
  • 40 Egg White
  • 39 Pistachio
  • 28 Oat
  • 28 Peanut
  • 26 Trout
  • 26 Yeast (Baker’s)

The numbers beside each food group indicates the level of intolerance. Borderline foods are between 24 and 29. The higher the number the worse the intolerance is. So now you can see why my life if over – no more chocolate and wine or any alcohol for that matter is out the window.

I know, I know, I know, it’s only a food intolerance test and not an allergy test and I can still eat the foods and suffer later but for the sake of getting healthier and for fertility reasons and I going to do my best to stick to it for now. Maybe introducing foods back in at a later date.

I just rang Sean and he told me he was going to divorce me if I give up chocolate, my boss told me to start working from home, I swear I am not a crazy person without chocolate, but I might get a little cranky!!

The next few days will be spent researching foods I can eat. It mostly eliminates processed foods and carbs. All fruit and Veg are ok, nuts are not a problem as I don’t like them. However, carbs are going to be an issue. This is where I need your help. If you have any suggestions or are in a similar situation please email or pm me with ideas or recipes.

I can’t believe I have an intolerance to potatoes – I’m Irish for goodness sake. Rice it is so – every night. Help!!!!!!!

I will be so skinny in a few weeks. I am going to weigh in this evening, start as I mean to go on. I will post weekly updates of weight loss and hopefully in a few weeks after cutting all this stuff out the results will be amazing – here’s hoping!

I already have lasagne ready for this evening so can’t help that but I have a really healthy lunch with me. Big changes, starting tomorrow……………………………………….

To be continued

 

Getting Started on the Meds

Once the weekend of celebrating for my sisters 30th was over it was back to reality. On Monday morning, I started taking my medication. No hormones at this stage, just medication to get my body function normally and my vitamin levels up. The reason behind this is the clinic want two more sets of bloods including AMH, which is an egg count and level of vitamin D3. My review appointment was scheduled for the end of November.

Eleven tablets later I went off to work, not feeling any different. Little did I know starting the tablets that one of them wouldn’t suit me. LDN – Low Dose Naltrexone is a new tablet used in fertility, for me it was supposed to help me sleep, help with anxiety, moods etc. However, there are side effects in some people of vivid dreams and of course I am one of those people. I took them for a few weeks but had to stop, I was exhausted. I had so many vivid dreams every night, I was waking up confused, upset, angry and just worn out. They just weren’t for me. Poor Sean didn’t know what was going on most mornings. I was either cross with him for something that happened in my dreams or really upset. I think he thought I was losing my mind 😊

I came off them just in time, as it happened, as I had a weekend planned with my sisters in Liverpool. I wasn’t allowed drink while taking LDN but was glad of a few glasses of vino to help me relax while I was away. I didn’t expect much from Liverpool but was pleasantly surprised. It is a gorgeous city. We went from Friday to Sunday and packed loads in while we were there. On Friday night, we booked a comedy show in Comedy Central, included was a meal in Panam on Albert Dock. The package was very reasonably priced and the meal was gorgeous. There were a few good comedians performing on the night and a few giggles were had.

On Saturday, we did a bus tour of the city, so we could at least say we saw most of the sites. Then it was up on the Ferris Wheel and the Merry Go Round like big kids. We had a beautiful tapas lunch with a cocktail on Albert Square and then enjoyed the sun sitting outside The Pump House. All in all it was a great weekend. I was delighted to get home to see Sean and the kids on Sunday evening.

My Hysterosalpingogram was scheduled for the following Monday morning, up early and into the hospital. It was a fairly quick procedure, I won’t get into the details, just to say it was very uncomfortable but it didn’t last long enough to warrant any drama. I was told there and then that my tubes were fine and my womb was slightly on the small size. However, I carried two 8lb babies so it stretches fine.

October was just meds and bloods and charting every day of my cycle, waiting for the signs of fertility to know the optimum time to conceive. All the while it didn’t matter, my progesterone was too low for conception. Not only did I have to worry about getting pregnant, I also had to worry about holding a pregnancy. I was told that low progestogen levels more than likely would result in a miscarriage. I still prayed for a miracle at the same time.  I phoned my October results into the clinic the first week of November and as I had two sets of bloods phoned in since my last appointment they could bring my review date up by two weeks. I got excited, I knew the next appointment meant starting me on hormones and although this seemed daunting, it meant that my results should start to get better and I was optimistic this would help me get pregnant. I made the appointment for a Monday and Sean and I planned to go into Dublin city afterwards to see all the Christmas lights and get started on our Christmas Shopping. Longest two weeks of my life………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

To be continued

WHY????

The question I keep getting asked over the last few days is WHY? Why do you want more children? Why are you going public? Why are you going public in such a big way?

Firstly, blogging is something I wanted to do for a long time but I really wanted to do it about something that was important to me and something that others could relate to. I am also a giver. I want to help people all the time and if just one person who was suffering in silence or didn’t know where to start first with getting help with fertility issues read my blogs and I gave them comfort and hope, that’s all I need.

With regards having more children. I love my two boys more than life itself and would go to the end of the earth for them and I am sure all parents can relate to that feeling. Bursting with love, pride and over course protecting them. However, I have always wanted a big family. I have 2 sisters who I love dearly and wouldn’t change it for the world. I also come from large extended families and my love for children has always been there. I took for granted being able to get pregnant and never thought after the boys that I would face any issues. But I have and knowing that something stands between you and having another baby is horrific. I have no control over it really. I am taking the medication, I am being proactive and doing all the right things but there is no guarantee. But I am determined and I am going to keep trying.

Going public was a big decision and it ate away at me for ages. Especially when I registered my Domain and it was all becoming very real, very quickly. I was apprehensive. But I am glad now that I did. Sitting at home letting the cloud get you is not healthy. It’s not healthy for me, for my marriage, for my children or for my friendships. I wanted to step out ahead of the problem and share it. Use my knowledge and experiences to help others and to just break the silence and the taboo. I have fertility issues, I am not embarrassed or ashamed, I am not a bad person because of it. I am human.

Hopefully I can help others and please feel free to contact me privately if you have any questions.

Party Planning

I’m taking a step away from the serious stuff today and going to give you some ideas for planning a party. I love party and event planning. When my sister decided to have her 30th in my parents’ house it was all systems go to make sure everything ran smoothly. I offered to sort out all the decorations and make the cake.

Decorations

We decided on pastels and started to search all the party websites. Then I landed on Party Parlour (www.partyparlour.ie) and found amazing pieces. We had to get enough to decorate two Marquees and the garage. We are very lucky that in my parents’ house we have all the facilities to host outdoor events and I was blessed to have both boys Christening parties there after their ceremony’s.

You will see from some of the pictures I attached the decorations that we went with. Floral buntings, tissue pom poms, honeycombs, paper lanterns, hanging fans and much more. By picking a colour scheme of pastels it was easy to mix and match decorations creating an array of colours and styles. I had some old fairy lights which we used to light of the ceiling in the garage along with the DJ’s lights.

Photos

I thought it would be fun to get some photo props and decorated an old frame for taking pictures. These pictures could then be added to the album I created for my sister with photos from her childhood and all the major happenings in her life. I contacted most of her friends through social media and asked them to send me pictures for the album. This was the best gift of all as it was from everyone there. All the pictures were printed by the local pharmacy Adrian Dunne’s, the girls in there are so helpful and efficient and the photos are reasonably priced when printing in bulk. I spent most of the night with a camera around my neck making sure I captured all the fun. Documented memories forever.

Drinks

The idea was that everyone brought their own drinks and there was a bit of everything in the house too for the all-night partiers. Mam and I ordered a cocktail bar for the party as a surprise. Cocktail Mocktail from Portlaoise and they seemed to have been in festival circuit last year from their pics on Facebook. The bar is inflatable and the set up takes no time. You can find them on Facebook @cocktailmocktailirl. It was a great addition to the night and added a bit of colour to the décor with the neon lights.

The Sweet Table

So as usual when I say I am going to do something I do it times ten. I offered to make the birthday cake but thought we wold need some cupcakes too. And as there was going to be kids there it was suggested we might need some sweets. So, the birthday cake soon spiralled into a Sweet Table. You can see the pictures I attached. I made the cake and the cupcakes on the Friday night and then Saturday morning as I mentioned in my last post between meeting with the fertility advisor, decorating and beautifying myself I had to ice 60 cupcakes and decorate them. Sean was in the kitchen beside me during the mayhem and asked “why do you always do this to yourself”, I don’t know, maybe because I am crazy!!!! Someone needs to restrain me, I get so excited. There were very little cupcakes left so I don’t feel too bad.

I raided my house to decorate the table, some birdcage battery operated lights I picked up in Heaton’s on sale and a large birdcage tea light holder that I picked up in the local €2 euro shop. The jars and scoops were borrowed from a friend and I decorated the marquee in lanterns and battery operated candles to add some ambience. These were borrowed from my cousin and originally purchased from Dunnes Stores.

The night was a huge success and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A local events caterer provided food and the music was provided by a friend of my husbands, he comes highly recommended. He had a mixture of music for all eras and genres and kept everyone on the dance floor all night.

A Visit to the Doctors

Summer 2016- A visit to the doctors:

I made an appointment and nervously went in, hoping to be told I had nothing to worry about. I had recently changed GP’s and am so glad I did. The level of understanding and care I received was second to none and I wasn’t with the practice very long. My bloods were taken and I was referred to my gynaecologist. There was nothing abnormal in my bloods, only the length of time I had been trying warranted further investigation.

I felt like the appointment for my gynaecologist would never come. While waiting, I had repeat bloods on Day 3 and Day 21 of my cycle. This was important to give a clear indication of how my hormone levels were. After chatting with a good friend and explaining my worries she gave me a card for Dr. Phil Boyle of the Neo Fertility Clinic in Dublin. Of course, I rang but was told in August that he was so busy that the next appointment was November – Seriously! My heart sank. I had no time to wait, I wanted to get down to the root of the problem asap, I wanted a baby, yesterday!

The receptionist explained that they had recently taken on another consultant and that she had been shadowing Dr. Boyle for a number of weeks and if I wanted I could have an appointment with her, Dr. Michelle Morris. I jumped at the chance and got an appointment for 20th September. In the meantime, my gynaecologist got back to me with an appointment for the 17th September. Of course, I went to see both. Two different approaches, two different opinions, why not, I was desperate.

Gynaecologist:

My first appointment was with my OB/GYN on a Saturday morning. I was so nervous but so excited too – I was finally going to get some answers. She did a scan and found that my left ovary had 7/8 small cysts/follicles. Not enough to be Poly Cystic, so that wasn’t the problem she explained. She wanted to arrange for a Hysterosalpingogram – HSG scan which would check my womb and that my fallopian tubes were patent. Being patent means, in my understanding, that the dye that is injected inside my womb would be able to exit my fallopian tubes without meeting any blockages. This scan was to be arranged on my next cycle.

Neo Fertility:

This appointment was only a few days later, Tuesday. It was a bit of a whirlwind, so much information. I had to start charting every cycle. I gave Dr. Morris a history and my blood results. I discussed with her the cysts/follicles found in my left ovary. She asked me about my moods, sleep pattern, weight and to describe in detail my cycles. I left with a prescription and a book to track my cycles and I was really confused. There was so much medical jargon and meds I had to digest, my head felt like it was going to explode. The only saving grace with the Neo Fertility clinic is you are put in touch with a Fertility Advisor. I was given her name and I knew I would be ok.

Fertility Advisor:

The lady was local and I knew her, I was so pleased and rang her the very next day. I asked her could we meet so she could explain how I was to track and to go through what was discussed at the meeting – I was so over whelmed. The meeting went great, she took her time, explained everything, explained the meds, the tracking, and the importance of relaxing. The same day I was baking, from early, for my sister’s 30th birthday, glowing with tan and had to go home and ice 60 buns and a cake and then decorate the Marquee and get hair and makeup done ahhhhhhh!. Relax – not possible!

I gave myself the weekend off to enjoy myself and started on the medication on Monday. This consisted of Metformin to treat Polycystic Ovaries, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin D3, Morepa Platinum Omega 3’s, Pregnacare Conception and LDN – Low Dose Naltrexone. The girls in the local chemist were amazing, they were and are always on hand with any questions or worries I have and are so supportive each month. They really helped starting all this medication so much easier.

I am very fortunate to be in a position to attain all this help and with the support of my parents, husband and family was able to positively take action. I am not the type of person to sit back and let things take over me so I had no choice to be proactive. This was only the start and nothing happens overnight I know that, but still when October came along and I wasn’t pregnant it hurt. It’s like your heart breaks just a little, a slight crack and you can physically feel the pain. My coping mechanism is to eat some chocolate, have a little cry and then get excited about the next month. Pick myself back up and plan ahead ……………………

to be continued

Introducing Me

As you will see from my About page my name is Dawn. I am a mammy to two beautiful boys, Nathan and Jacob, and married to Sean.

The reason I have finally decided to start a blog is to give myself a voice. I want a virtual diary so that I can share the good with the bad. And hopefully through my experiences I can help someone else.

I have a really good life, I have my family, my friends, my house, a job and so many things to be thankful for but I also suffered with Post Natal Depression after both boys and am now I am having fertility problems. These are two subjects that are uncomfortable to talk about and I don’t find, from my experience, that people are willing to share. So therefore, sometimes it can be lonely to have no one that truly understands the heartache.

I know how lucky I am to have two children already, however, the want for a child outweighs any reasoning. To know the miracle of creating your own flesh and blood, to feel the baby grow and move inside of you, it’s an amazing gift.

The day after having my first boy Nathan I was lying in the hospital bed with my deflated tummy and although Nathan was in my arms I said to Sean that I missed the movement in my belly, I missed being pregnant. He nearly dropped to the floor in shock 🙂

The last few years have been a whirlwind. In 2008 we bought our house, the following year we got engaged and a few weeks later found out we were pregnant with Nathan. Nathan was born in 2010 and exactly a year later we got married. Jacob was born a year later in 2012 and we have been busy ever since with our little monkeys. On New Year’s Eve 2014 we decided to start trying for another baby, the boys were getting big and the time was right – so we thought. Over two years later we are still trying.

It got to 18 months and I knew something was wrong. I started to get disheartened and upset every month when it didn’t happen. Close friends told me it was probably just stress and that I should try forget about it and it might happen. I knew it was time to go seek some professional help, be proactive and get some answers …………………………

 

to be continued

 

Back to Square One

As I sit here today, sick to my stomach, waiting on my blood results I look back over the last six weeks and I honestly don’t know what end of me is up. I feel like giving up and over the last week or two have decided on an end date. It’s not set in stone, but something has to give. Feeling sick, not sleeping, nauseous with worry, having anxiety attacks; it’s no way to live. It’s not fair on my heart or my head, or my poor stomach.

After Nathan got better in April I was coming up to ovulation. My mucus started to appear and I had a perfect score for April. I was optimistic and excited because last month’s results were so good, with progesterone of 50. I took all my meds and injection as I was supposed to and went for my bloods on peak plus 7. Two days later I got my results. My oestrogen was fine at 500+ but my progesterone had plummeted to 25. This means I didn’t ovulated and thinking about it more, I am on progesterone top ups every month so therefore my real result would have been much lower than this again. I felt like I was back at square one and that the last couple of months taking medication was for nothing.

What more can I do, how much more of me can I give. My whole life is consumed by infertility. I can’t get away from it. Sometimes I have outer body experiences and look down at my tired broken self and wonder is it worth it. Every month when I get bad news something dies inside of me. I can’t forget about it, I can’t just try and relax or enjoy myself as I am constantly tracking each day of my cycle. My stomach is always bloated, my moods swing all month with the hormones. I am trying to remain grounded and keep my crazy for Sean but that doesn’t always work. I just keep asking myself – WHY ME, WHY NOW??

I got the results in work on a Wednesday afternoon at the end of April and to say I was broken is an understatement. I was in the office on my own thank god, as I broke down. I thought the day would never be over. I had to pull myself together in work but once I got in the car, I broke down again. I cried all the way home, big elephant size tears, I was drowned, my sunglasses kept sliding off my face. I had to pick the kids up from the childminder and I looked terrible. I tried to disguise my upset but when she asked me if I had a headache I broke down again.

The rest of the day was a blur and I took to the bed, typical Irish person, but sometimes its essential. I had no choice, I couldn’t be social able or pleasant, I just needed to process. When I get upset or anxious I have to keep occupied, I can’t sit because my thoughts consume me. So, for the days to follow I started to paint, I painted all the new fences out the back, all three coats. I power hosed and planted up a storm. Then I moved onto the front of the house and started painting all my flower boxes and arranged to have the house painted. I had to put my energy into something other than me.

I got my periods the May Bank Holiday weekend, I knew they were coming so on the Saturday night I enjoyed a few glasses of wine in my parents’ house for my sisters going away party. She moved to London to start her career and I couldn’t be prouder of her. She had an early start on the Sunday morning so it was early home for everyone. When I got home, Sean was going next door to watch a fight, so I grabbed one of the girls and we had a few drinks and a chat while the fight was on.  It was well needed and I enjoyed relaxing for a few hours. The next day was a write off. Sean was very understanding, I wasn’t hungover, I was exhausted. My bones couldn’t hold me. I got up for breakfast and went back to bed. The boys had a birthday party so Sean brought them and left me alone for the day. I got up while they were gone and cleaned up and did some washing, but it was straight back to bed for me. It was a day of rest I needed and when I got up on Monday morning my periods came.

I made a conscious effort to eat healthily, when I could. I went to see a dietician for meal ideas but I honestly didn’t find it any good. The suggestions were a lot of food I didn’t like, I know you are meant to try new things but I am 32 and I know what tastes I enjoy. I felt the meeting was more geared to exercise and he told me that I needed to be active 7 days a week. I explained that I have two kids and that this is an un-realistic expectation, but I felt like he was patronising me telling me that if I really wanted to I would and that I need to set myself an exercise goal and that should motivate me. I wasn’t there for exercise advise and nor was I really interested. The whole idea was to get suggestion of foods and meals so that I could avoid mainly dairy and wheat as they have been found to be fertility blockers. I was really disappointed with the meeting and felt it was €80.00 wasted. To top it off the meeting was Friday morning and he didn’t send me my meal plans until late Sunday night. I’m sure all of you who have young children know the stress of bringing them to the supermarket. I try avoiding it at all costs, so my window of getting to the shops that week was gone.

I decided to buy loads of the Paleo Ireland meals and cut carbs out completely, bar rice. I don’t know whether it was stress or the change of diet but my stomach got very sick. I had chronic diarrhoea for days and the pains in my stomach got so bad that I thought it was appendicitis. At this stage, it was time for me to take sight of the situation and deal with what had happened – how I was feeling and to breath for 5 minutes. It’s when you stop for a minute your brain kicks back in and what your avoiding comes to the surface.

I called the Gynaecologists office and requested follicle tracking for this month. I needed to know what was happening in my body and which side was active this month. I strongly believe that it was my left side in April and that’s why I didn’t ovulate. I also called the hospital to find out when I was scheduled in for a DandC and Laparoscopy. I had to take action. Follicle tracking was organised for Day 9 of my cycle, unfortunately my right side could not be seen due to having a distended bowel. This was as a result of being so sick. There were 2 x 11mm follicles in my left ovary and on day 12 this increased to 4 x 11mm and 1 x 9mm. Between Days 9 and 12 was when I made the decision to put a date on it. Not an exact date but a month. I had to create a finish line for my sanity.

On Day 12 my right ovary could barely be made out, after what seemed like half an hour of searching, a shadowed sight appeared and I had a follicle of approximately 18mm. It could have been bigger but with the restricted view, we couldn’t be sure. I also had a positive LH surge on my ovulation kit that morning.

I phoned the clinic with the results and they suggested that I take the HCG injection the following night. Following their orders, I did just that. I arranged with my fertility advisor to administer the injection and I was back to hoping again. This month my progesterone intake was increased. As well as the pessary’s. I also had to take three extra injections of HCG at a lower dose on Peak +3, 5 and 7. I didn’t want to impose on my fertility advisor on all of these days so I asked my sister to give them to me. She seemed way to happy to inflict pain (only kidding), she was happy to help.

On Peak +3 we were both standing in my kitchen, I knew how to mix the liquid with the powder and get the needle ready for her, but there was no way in hell I was doing it to myself. I gave her the needle and I knew she was nervous too. I told her what she needed to do and when she approached me with the needle I reversed. Instinct 😊!!! Eventually we pulled ourselves together and the injection was administered. It was fine. It doesn’t hurt going in but it stings when the liquid is pushed in and I think it has something to do with applying pressure to the needle as you push it in. All over and Peak plus 5 and 7 to look forward to.

I was given a date at the end of June for my procedure, which means I will have another full cycle before then. My understanding with a DandC I will have to wait a month or two to try again as I will have no lining on my womb. With no lining, an embryo would not be able to implant and if it did, there is risk of miscarrying. So, in my head, July and August are out.  I made the decision to enjoy my summer with the boys and Sean. No point investing my energy into a lost cause – once I have given it two cycles we can try again. Giving us time to reflect on what’s important and all the emotional torture we have been through for the last two and a half years.

On a plus note the house is looking great. I have put so much energy into getting it looking good we are nearly there …………………………………

To be continued

Master Bedroom from Drab to Fab

You spend a lot of time in your bedroom over a lifetime, it needs to be somewhere you can relax and switch off from the world. And that’s what I set out to achieve.

We moved into our house over eight years ago, we were only 23 when we bought it. So as you can imagine we didn’t have our life’s savings behind us. Everything was done on a budget and we were happy that way as we had our own house, independence and we were standing on our own two feet (more like four feet). Over the last number of years we’ve got engaged and married, had two beautiful kids and all the other things that come with owning a house and running two cars to contend with. Now was the time to spend a little money on us and start to update the house room by room. Over the next few posts I will show you what we’ve done and hopefully give you some tips. But for now let’s start with the master bedroom.

First to go was the old, worn, stinky carpet. From those of you that have kids you will know how often you are on your hands and knees cleaning up mess from the carpets after little people. Spilt drinks, baby puke, toddler puke, big child puke, too much puke. It was time to go. Grey was my colour of choice and as you will see from the pics of the rest of my house, this colour carried through. I love it, it’s neutral but has depth and warmth, depending on the tone of grey you choose. I like to go with the greys with a hint of purple in them, makes it warmer. The carpet I chose was carried into all three bedrooms and on the stairs and landing so that there would be a continuous flow throughout the first floor. I bought it from Denis McGinley’s carpets in Portlaoise. He’s on the Mountrath road and can be found on Facebook. He is very reasonably priced and I have bought all my carpets from him since moving in to our own house and my Mam has bought all her carpets from him as long as I can remember.

But before the carpet could go in I wanted to get paneling done on my bedroom walls. I just love how it changes the look of a room or hallway. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but when finished it looks expensive. I approached a childhood friend of mine who is a carpenter to see if he would do the job. Alan Kirwan Carpentry Ltd (he can also be found on Facebook). He sent one of his guys into do the job. I’m quite handy with a measuring tape so already knew what timber I needed to get, but for those of you who wouldn’t know where to start your carpenter is the one to ask. I ordered sheets of MDF in two different thicknesses to create the box paneled effect and I also ordered beading to finish off the edges of each box. I tried to find a dado to finish off the top but I couldn’t find any I liked, so the carpenter, “Murty” suggested using the cut offs of MDF and rounding the edges on them, creating a layered effect.

The headboard was also designed from the MDF using the box panel effect, I wanted it to look grand so decided to bring it up very high on the wall and I used a large dado to finish the top of it, giving it a wide flat top. And to finish the room off nicely I asked him to make me a radiator cover. I just bought a sheet of patterned wooden MDF trellis and he inserted it into a frame. The top was then left open so as not to block the heat in the room. This was all messy work as there was a lot of sawing and trimming causing a lot of sawdust and mess. And then it had to be painted. Oh the drama. 

First I bought an oil based undercoat and gloss which was a nightmare to apply. Three coats later I couldn’t see the finish line. I called the hardware and explained the trouble I was having and they suggested a water based satin wood. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this in the first place. I had to buy another undercoat, which was to counteract the oil base and then the water based top coat. I forgot to mention that before I started to paint I also had to fill all the nail holes and joins in the timber, sand it down and refill again where necessary. Although all of this sounds like tedious work, it was worth it in the end and the finished product looks amazing.

I chose a grey colour for the walls in the room, I thought with the white paneling a crispy grey would be nice. It was Dulux “Moderism”. It turned out really well and I was able to get the two coats done in a few hours as there was very little wall left in the room. The carpet was now safe to go in, no more messy work to do, only accessorizing. All the furniture was brought downstairs from the three bedrooms and when I got home from work the carpets were finished. A thorough Hoover and it was time to enjoy the sponginess under my feet. We want this carpet to last a good few years so made sure we chose a good thick underlay to help it last and give the feel of luxury as you walk on it.

To add some character to the room I painted a cut off of the MDF in the same colour as the wall and stuck a wall decal to it. It is an inspirational quote reminding us to take the good with the bad. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, It’s about learning to Dance in the Rain”. I bought a cheap extendable curtain rail from Heaton’s which I mounted at the top of the wall and from this I draped four white voile curtains from Ikea. Such good value and they look voluptuous. I added some icicle battery operated lights to each side to create some mood lighting. I also bought these in Heaton’s in the New Year sale. A bargain at €4.00 per set.

The bedside lockers are from Homestore and More. I had my heart set on French boutique lockers and was searching Done Deal for a set I could upscale. I couldn’t believe my luck when Sean and I came across the ones in the pictures attached in Homestore and More. They were exactly what I wanted and weren’t too expensive at €70.00 each. After securing that find we went into Homebase for a noisy. They had a sale on in their lighting department upstairs and we were thrilled to come across bedside lamps. The base and the lampshades were separate but I think they make a good combination together. The bases are really heavy and the glass globe helps disperse the light around the room. The lamp shade on the ceiling was bought in Dunnes Stores for €20.00 and blends in with the grey and white colour scheme. The bed linen was also bought in Dunnes Stores. I chose a light purple duvet and matching pillow cases to add some contrast to the room and then a deeper purple sheet and matching pillow cases for underneath. 

I recently picked up the heart shaped mirror in Homestore and More reduced to €4.99 and the small grey heart shaped clips used to tie back the voile curtains are also from there at €4.00 each. It’s the small touches that give the room character. These heart shaped clips are hung up on the wall using command strip hooks, no holes, no screws and easy to move if you ever change your design. 

You might also notice the shutters in our room at the windows, these were made for us years ago by a very talented carpenter friend of ours, Brian. I told him what I wanted, gave him a quick design brief and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. These block all the light from the room, you can sleep in pitch darkness. They are sealed all around the edges, which keeps the heat in the room, which was the main reason for getting them. There are two latches on one door on the inside, securing it at the top and bottom and then a lock on the outside to keep them closed. They actually help retain so much heat in the room that we usually sleep with ours open, as I said in a previous post I am always warm. They proved really beneficial in the boys rooms and eliminated any draughts you might get from the windows. They are made from solid pine and have been varnished once to maintain them. They were reasonably priced but asthe  MasterCard ads would say the benefits were “Priceless”.

Moving onto the wardrobes. I’m a divil for trying to optimize storage. In a small three bed house there are not too many opportune places to steel a bit of storage but I was all over it in our bedroom. There was a chimney breast in the centre of the back wall dividing two alcoves. Originally when we bought our house there was a small double door wardrobe in one of the alcoves that barely held all my clothes. Poor Sean had to go to another room to get his. When we saved up a few pound we decided to up scale. We contacted John from Robe Design in Kildare and he designed the finished piece. We asked if he could incorporate the tv into the unit somehow and he definitely did not disappoint. The chimney breast was covered in white timber and the tv was then mounted to it. The distance from the tv to the doors was carefully calculated to allow the sliding doors pass safely. We bought got double height hanging room, a selection of drawers and shelves and I even got a long area for dresses and two pull out shoe shelves. Very fancy pancy! It was amazing to have all that wardrobe space and sean was allowed bring his clothes back into our room 😂. The colors I chose a few years back for the doors would probably not be what I would pick now but they are neutral enough to get away with it and I won’t be rushing out in the morning to change them for aesthetic reasons.

Finally, to the famous “Wall of Love”. This was something I was really passionate about doing. The bedroom is Sean’s and my room and our relationship should be celebrated. I think sometimes we got lost in the small things, bickering and fighting and we don’t look at the bigger picture. With these pictures of the happiest moments in our relationship displayed on the wall, at least every morning we wake up and every night we go to bed we get reminded of these times together and it grounds you and reminds you of the love we both share ❤️. Corny I know, but with all that is going on in our lives it’s nice to have something just for us. I bought the frames in dealz for €1.49 each. I arranged them on the floor first, getting the sizes right and the layout I wanted and then I stuck them onto the wall using Velcro Command Strips. I carefully chose the best pictures from our wedding day and made sure to include our 21st kisses to each other. How nice is it to say we are together that long and we were both each other’s 21st kiss. Seems so long ago now, but it was very important back then. 

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures and detail put into our bedroom and maybe it might spark some DIY or Interior Design desires in some of you. I have posted some videos and pics to Snapchat @dawnheavey, Facebook @Insidemammysworld, Instagram @insidemammysword and on Twitter @insidemamaswrld.