Conception Journey…Trials and Tribulations

This post continues from here.

The first ovulation test was done. Errrrr, what do these lines mean exactly? OK, so they should be the EXACT SAME colour, right? One shouldn’t be paler than the other. Oh, one’s a test line, I see. How confusing. I have a test line and another line, but they aren’t the same shade of pink. Ovulation ain’t happening in the next 48 hours. Cool, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes, same results. And the next day, and the day after that. You get the picture. So does this mean I’m not ovulating? Bugger. Not what I was expecting, but this was the first cycle I was trying this, and we were still trying to get pregnant nonetheless. Maybe I just hadn’t done the test right.

Needless to say, this continued for a good few cycles. The tests were never really conclusive, I was not sure I was doing them properly, either at the right time in my cycle, or at the right time in the day. Some days the lines were close in colour, others they were complete opposites. I’d take pictures of the lines and send them to Bobby to see what he thought. He couldn’t tell either.

I look back at this now and I realise how much unnecessary stress I was putting on myself! I really thought the tests would guide us a bit more, help us pinpoint the days I was ovulating but they seemed to be doing anything but. I swapped brands, trying the Tesco ones instead. I had a bit more luck with these, the two lines very often seemed more similar, and I’d convinced myself I must be ovulating. But still no pregnancy.

Bobby showed a massive amount of interest in this part of the process. I’m lucky, he wanted to be involved, he wanted to know what was going on with my cycle, to know when we should start trying etc. He asked me question after question, and I have to admit, it made me feel more pressured. Not because he made me feel bad, or that he put that pressure on me. I pressured myself.  I felt like I should be the expert on this, I’d done the research, I’d read the guidance out there, I should know what’s what. But I didn’t know. I wasn’t an expert. I’m just me, and I just want us to get pregnant, and I was failing.

By now we were approaching Summer 2012, and it was over a year since we’d started trying. I kept repeating ‘It can take up to two years to get pregnant, don’t worry’, but I never really believed it. Not really. I’d started imagining something was wrong, that there was a reason I couldn’t get pregnant, and it scared me. It really did. Obsessed is not the word I would use to describe how I was feeling, because I’m not that kind of person. But it was on my mind, all the time, and I knew that wasn’t healthy. I needed to change my outlook on this whole situation, and my behaviour.

I ditched the ovulation tests. They’d never given me any confidence anyway, and all it felt like I was doing was staring at stick for answers. What I should be doing, is stop the worrying, and start enjoying the journey again. So I let it go, and it was a wonderfully easy thing to do, and it lifted both me and Bobby in spirits. I started thinking positively about the whole thing, and took a lot of inspiration from my older sister Yvette, who at 37 had just had her second child. It gave me hope that time wasn’t running out for me, that all I needed was to focus on my health and happiness, and let this happen on it’s own timetable.

Suzy Signature

Working Mother Guilt

I returned to work when my daughter was 9 months old. I had 10 months Maternity Leave, needing to finish work early because of Pelvic Girdle Pain (sometimes referred to as SPD). I was later diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which explained some of the difficulties I was having physically, but more about that in a later post.

When I went back, I was desperately sad that I would be spending far less time with my daughter but I knew I needed to return to work and having agreed to go back part time on three days a week, I felt I was doing the minimum. I was reassured knowing that I still had 4 days with her – I was fixated on the fact that she was with me over 50% of the time so it was fine.

At first, it went really well. Adrenaline saw me through the first couple of months and I felt like I was Super-Woman! I was being really efficient at work and then I was being fun-mommy on my days off and (sort of) keeping on top of the house. I felt brilliant! Then my spark went out. Good lord, I was tired.

I was working long hours Tuesday-Thursday to try to fit in 5 days worth of work into the 3 days I was in the office. I realised I had to do that as it is very difficult to work from home with a toddler who wants to press all the keys on the laptop and draw over all of your files! My husband works in retail so often works weekends so I was finding that I was doing 3 or 4 days of solo parenting after 3 exhausting days at work. Something had to change.

After a great deal of time deliberating, I decided I had to go up to 4 days. My work was suffering and I was so tired and stretched that I was getting super grumpy with Hubby and I didn’t have the energy to have exciting adventures with my daughter. It seemed daft to be doing all that extra work and not being paid for it too.

The first Monday was so tough. I sobbed in the shower. I sobbed when getting dressed. I sobbed into my cheerios. I felt so guilty. I felt like I chose Mondays for ME. I wasn’t strong enough to make 3 days work. I wasn’t strong enough to manage 3 days at work, 4 days with my daughter. I was choosing work over her.

The rational side of my brain said don’t be ridiculous. A happy mother is a happy child. However, the emotional side of my brain kept arguing back and making me doubt myself. I’ll keep fighting it. This is best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. If I keep saying it, the rational part will win over the emotional part, right?

I honestly have so much respect for single parents! In fact, I just have respect for ALL parents. We are all just doing the best we can and no doubt will continue to feel guilty about everything!

My aim is to ensure that I keep to normal office hours on the 4 days I am in work so that I can make the most of the couple of hours in the evening before my daughter’s bedtime and for our 3 days together to be fun. Fingers crossed I make this work.

How are you balancing things?

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

Clare Signature

Conception Journey…The first stages

This post follows on from here .

The first stages of baby making are easy peasy. A doddle. The sex is fun, you are both so incredibly excited about the possibility of getting pregnant, it’s just such a wonderful time. Other than the restrictions of your monthly period, there’s no stress, worries or even calendar consulting. We were so pleased with the decision we’d made to step forward with our plans for a family, it buoyed us through a good many months of trying.

And that’s how it should be, right? A promising, exciting time. When you should let Mother Nature do her work, while having loads of incredible sex along the way. It’s one of the most natural things in the world, a primal instinct to bring another life into the world, to create a family. And should you be lucky, you will be blessed with a baby, in due course. And that’s what we believed, we hoped and we wanted. It will happen, give it time. Don’t worry darling, we’ve only been trying for six months!

I’m a doer in life. Once I’ve made a decision on something, I crack straight on with it. No messing around, let’s get it done. So once we were at the winter of late 2012, I thought maybe I should do a bit of research on ovulation, and the best time in your cycle to get pregnant. I’d already got a great app on my phone which I always tracked my cycles with, but Clare recommended trying the iPeriod app as this also predicted your ovulation dates, and also had a monthly breast checker reminder. So I put in my data, and was intrigued by the dates it was suggesting would be the best time to get pregnant. I still use this app now.  I also read about your body temperature changing after ovulation, so I went a bought a little thermometer, and religiously took my temp at the same time every day, noting it my app.

We focussed our baby making time around the ‘green week’ as it’s called on the app, making sure we were trying at least every other day. I was taking my temp, but wasn’t really noticing a spike around my so called ovulation days. I did a bit of research online and boy, did I get scared. Not a good idea, FYI. The forums I found were filled with so called experts on ovulation spouting facts and tips like they were gospel. Luckily, I have a pretty sensible head on my shoulders, so I avoided the forums and went to professional sites to see if I could get any advice. The temperature recording was something they recommended doing, although they all talked about the Body Basal Temperature, which I wasn’t convinced I was doing properly with mine. A lot of them recommended trying ovulation kits as well as the temperature charting.

Off to Boots I went, and found they offered two ovulation kits, the Boots own brand (£10 approx) and the Clearblue one (£16 approx). I opted for the Boots own brand, it contained around 7 tests, thinking I’d only need them for a couple of months, and then I could always try the more expensive one if I wanted.  I read the instructions, understood what I needed to do, and when I needed to do it, and waited for the right time in my cycle to start the test.

Around 11 days into my cycle, I decided to do the test. Of COURSE it fell on a work day. The test involves peeing on a stick, leaving it 5 minutes and then going to see what the results say. I work in an incredibly small office, and not only was it difficult to smuggle the test into the loo without anyone seeing, I then had to go back in the loo five minutes later to see what the score was. I felt SO self concious. In all honesty, the guys who I work with were paying zero attention to me, and even if they were, wouldn’t have a clue what was going on anyway.

So there you have it, my first ovulation test was done. How had I gotten to this point? I was so convinced it would just happen for us, it was a struggle for me to think that maybe we needed a bit of help. Oh, how little I knew.

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Trying to update my work wardrobe, post-baby!

As part of my Valentine’s treat from hubby, last weekend I went out alone! Not very romantic but the opportunity to have some me time – without a buggy, a bag full of nappies and a toddler (albeit a gorgeous one) was the equivalent of a mini-break!

I’ve been considering my work wardrobe. My post-baby body isn’t working my pre-baby office clothes quite as well as I would like and I needed a rethink. So, I took myself off down to Oasis in The Bullring Shopping Centre to attempt to reinvent myself.

My thoughts were to go for an outfit centering more around skinny-fit trousers rather than traditional pencil skirts and shift dresses as I’ve definitely retained some weight around the tummy and hips, whereas the legs have, thankfully, returned to pre-baby size. I feel comfortable on non-work days in skinny jeans and baggy tops so hoped to find a smarter version that would work for the office.

On arrival, I found it was the store’s grand opening after a refurb and so there were treats on offer – traditional lemonade and sweets! Yum! After browsing for only a couple of minutes, I was approached by a member of staff to see if I needed any help. After explaining what I was hoping to achieve, she introduced me to Dani, their Personal Shopper.

Dani was excellent, getting me to try on various outfits that I wouldn’t have even picked up off the rails. A particular favourite was this dress:

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A bargain at £55, fully lined and nicely structured. However, it was a little tight around the tummy so I sadly left it behind but it’s definitely on the wish list if ever I find some time to do some sit ups!

A daring outfit (for me anyway) was this one:

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Super cute I think you’ll agree but I’d never have thought to put that floral print and stripes together! The skirt (£32, lined) was really comfy and didn’t cling but it was too short for me to wear for work. I did end up with the mustard top (£25 – a real bargain!) even though it’s a colour I’d never normally wear. It hangs really nicely and the fabric makes it feel like a much more expensive top. I also bought the stripy jacket (only £45!). Now, I’ve not convinced myself to keep the jacket yet as I’m not sure how much use I’ll get from it or whether I’ll keep it clean (imagine tiny sticky hands cuddling me – lovely but it does mean I’m often covered in little handprints!). So, the jury is out on that one.

I also bought some black skinny jeans (£40) and a black textured cocoon jacket (£45). I’m hoping that this will be the start of the new work wardrobe. The cocoon jacket is quite cool I thought – a smarter choice than a black cardi but more relaxed than a blazer or suit jacket. I chose those four things as staple items to wear with other clothes I currently have and hope to be feeling a little younger, cooler and slimmer at work!!

I was pleasantly surprised when handing my money over that they were giving goody bags away and I got a lovely jute bag with a large candle and a nail polish inside! Now, the colour of the nail polish is not for me but I’ll certainly enjoy the candle. I really enjoyed my shopping experience and I’m feeling better already about going back to work next week!

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If ever you’re feeling a little lost and in need of some inspiration for your wardrobe, i would highly recommend a Personal Shopper. At first I wasn’t sure but Dani was excellent and took over 2 hours to listen, advise, encourage and support me to try on clothes that took me out of my comfort zone and now I have a wish-list of clothes to buy when I’m paid and they’re on offer. Roll on pay day!

Are you post-baby? How are you finding the new you? I would love to hear from you.

Clare xx