Activities · Health · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 29: Feeling Crafty

I had big knitting plans when we had Laurie’s frozen embryo transfer.

I picked up a copy of What to Knit When You’re Expecting on one of our trips to Glasgow for a hospital appointment to pick up meds or check my lining or something. I envisioned myself knitting up little outfits or accessories through my pregnancy.

On the day I got my positive pregnancy test, I cast on for a cuddly panda for the baby, in light blue and dark blue (because, why not?), but very early on in the pregnancy I discovered that knitting (and pretty much any repetitive activity) made me throw up, so I couldn’t spend my time making a host of fun characters and outfits for my little boy.

In fact, the feeling of nausea during knitting was so strong, that it kind of put me off knitting for ages. I was able to get into it again when Laurie was tiny and could knit while he napped on me but as he got bigger, it got harder to coordinate baby, circular knitting needles, yarn, patterns and a breastfeeding pillow on my lap.

Laurie climbing

Now that Laurie is older, and sleeping a little more regularly, I’m able to knit a little more often. Mostly on an evening when he’s in bed, but occasionally he ‘helps’ or does the string equivalent of TP-ing my living room with yarn.

I’m yet to knit him anything he can actually wear, but that’s okay he’s got a bunch of relatives and friends who keep him well-supplied with knitted and crocheted jumpers. I’m more of a cuddly toy crafting mum (because when you make a mistake, it adds character), but that’s okay, he’s quite the fan of cuddly toys too.

Laurie at Tractor Show 1

But what about that panda I cast on for the day I found out that there was going to be a Laurie eventually?

I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s still in pieces in a bag in my craft cupboard. I think it’s still awaiting a tail or some other important panda body part. I was going to finish it for his first birthday… but I didn’t.

Maybe it’ll be finished in time for his second birthday.

Maybe.

This blog post is part of a Blogtober 2019 series of posts. You can see my full list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Health · IVF · Parenting · Pregnancy · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 26: True Love

The early part of my pregnancy with Laurence was not easy.

Morning sickness kicked in around 6 weeks pregnant and by the time I was 8 weeks pregnant I was on antiemetic medication which didn’t really help so at 9 weeks I was admitted to hospital with dehydration.

Over the next three weeks I became convinced I was dying. EVERYTHING made me throw up. Any kind of sensory stimulation and I would hurl. It would take me a whole day to drink a 330ml can of flat Fanta.

I had dreamed of being pregnant so long and yet by the time I was 12 weeks pregnant I had stopped virtually stopped eating because anything I swallowed only came back up again. I went to my 12 week scan telling myself that at least if there was something wrong with the baby, I wouldn’t have to feel so sick all the time because it would all be over.

Instead, there on the screen was a perfectly healthy little baby. He stretched out his legs, flailed his arms around, and then turned his back on the scanner. Looking back now, the way he ‘rolled over’ was so quintessentially Laurie. I watch him roll over in exactly the same way every night. I think that was truly the moment when I fell in love with him.

That’s not to say I wasn’t in love with him before.

I fell in love with that little bundle of cells I saw on the TV screen before my transfer. I fell in love with the idea of the baby I conjured up when I first got that second line nine days later. I fell head over heels in love when I saw that little heartbeat flickering away at six weeks pregnant, and actually got to hear its steady little thump two weeks later.

But at the same time, for those early weeks, it felt an awful lot like the pair of us were doing battle for control of my body. So many people were focused on what was right for the baby and I didn’t have the energy or the words to articulate the fact that I was in that body too, and while the baby was clearly healthy, I was dying in there.

Seeing him on the screen that day, looking far more human than he ever had looked before, made him real.

So I fought the hyperemesis gravidarium. I educated myself on it. I worked out what my triggers were; I hid in the bedroom whenever the spousal unit wanted to cook chicken, I wore sunglasses all the time to avoid bright lights, I had the brightness on my phone and computer monitors at work turned down as low as they’d go whilst still remaining visible. And I took the medication that helped me gain control over the vomiting.

It was over a month later when I definitely felt him move, though I had actually been feeling him for a couple of weeks before that; it just took a definite movement to realise it. And at that point it hit me that it wasn’t him versus me for control of my body; it was him and I against my body. He was right there alongside me and it was my body that was being the bitch.

That marked a turning point for me and I think that’s when I really bonded with my unborn baby.

Newborn Laurie

I worried for a long time during my pregnancy that we wouldn’t like one another when he arrived. I was scared that the sickness would affect the way I felt towards him. And after the trauma of his birth and our horrible stay in hospital, I suspect that it could have gone either way.

But once he was actually here, there was no question in my mind, he was mine and I was his and there doesn’t seem to be a word that describes just how strong that feeling of love was. And still is today. Seriously, just saying his name or looking at his little face makes my heart swell.

I love my little guy.

And yes, it’s cliché, but I’d do it all again because I’d know I could survive it. And I know exactly what the prize at the end is now.

This blog post is part of a series for the Blogtober 2019 blogging challenge. You can see my list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

How have your feelings towards the ones you love changed over time?

Health · IVF · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 23: Worst Weather

Living on an island, our lives are ruled by the weather, specifically the weather that impacts the running of the ferries that serve the island.

This affects everything, from the transport of deliveries onto the island, to being able to get off the island for shopping trips, holidays, and, you guessed it, IVF-related hospital appointments.

Laurie with cattle

With our first two fresh cycles, we were careful to schedule our treatment for the summer months to better avoid the disruption caused by bad weather. During a fresh cycle there can be appointments every other day to check blood levels, follicle growth and lining development, so you need to know that you’ll reliably be able to get to them. At the end of a fresh cycle you take an injection which gives you 36-38 hours before your eggs need to be collected; if you are delayed too long, the whole cycle could be cancelled.

For both egg collections, we booked a hotel on the mainland for the night before because nothing was going to stop us from getting to that!

When our first fresh transfer failed, we decided to throw caution to the wind and try another round during September/October. Ironically after 75% of our summer appointments had been subject to disruption on the ferries, only one single appointment was affected by a delay on the boats during that autumn round.

With Laurie’s round we knew it was the last one and we decided to go all out and start it in January; a risky move considering we’d previously written off the idea of doing any treatment between October and March because of the weather situation. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting them to be able to book us in when I called up that January. I was sure that with delays (and let’s face it, waiting for my body to do what it needed to do) that it would push us back into March. Instead we were having collection on the 13th of February after only a week of stimming injections!

I was certain that the weather would cause problems during that round. I was convinced that I would have to call the hospital up to let them know we couldn’t come in. Or that we’d end up having to get to the mainland by some roundabout route in order to get the meds that we needed.

As it happened, we ended up needing to go to the mainland almost daily during that last push towards egg collection. I remember feeling vaguely embarrassed as we travelled home from an appointment on the Friday and I called work up to apologise that I wouldn’t be in on the Monday as I’d be having my op and would want a couple of days off after to recover, and that was after barely being in during the week before as well!

Laurie mans the helm

I frantically checked the ferries and the weather forecast with each day as I tried to anticipate when we’d be needing to travel. I pretty much lived on hotel booking websites during that week.

And what do you know? On the day before egg collection, we got up intending to catch the first ferry off the island (8am on the weekend) and it was cancelled!

Even though we couldn’t check into the hotel until 2pm, we thought we’d make sure we got away on the first boat so that if there was any disruption, we’d have the later boats to catch.

And was it the weather that caused the problem?

Nope. One of the two ferries had broken down. And it had broken down where any replacement boat would need to dock to load and unload. So there was no option for travelling that way until they could get the poorly boat moved!

Thankfully there’s a smaller ferry which serves a different part of the island. So we took that, and had a two hour drive to Glasgow instead (not the most comfortable of journeys when your ovaries each resemble a large bunch of grapes). But we made it. And the weather was, for once, not to blame for the disruption!

This post is part of a series for the Blogtober 2019 challenge. You can see my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Has the weather played a part in disrupting your big plans? Or did you expect it to, then get a surprise when something else caused a problem instead?

Activities · Health · IVF · Parenting · The Noodle · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 11: Let’s Go Outside

In 2016 I set myself a challenge of ‘walking to Rivendell’. Basically someone calculated the mileage covered in The Lord of the Rings when Frodo and the gang walk from Hobbiton to Rivendell (458 miles, if you’re curious) and I set out to do the same in a series of walks through the year.

Every time I went on a Middle-earth walk, I tracked it, until halfway through December when I completed my challenge.

I’d planned to do the next leg of the journey (Rivendell to Moria, approximately 340 miles to the Doors of Moria) through the following year. But things didn’t quite work out that way.

In the January we started our third (and final) fresh round of IVF. We had our egg collection halfway through February, I recovered from that and was just starting to pick it up again, when we hit April and we started preparing for the frozen embryo transfer round that brought us Laurie.

The hormones involved in IVF treatment can do funny things to your body; you can feel headachey, emotional, your uterus and ovaries feel different. Medications also have to be taken at specific times, which can be a bit impractical if you’re planning a quick two mile walk after work; one of the meds I was on required me to lie down for 20-30 minutes after taking it, meaning that 6:30am or 6:30pm activities were completely off the cards.

So walking didn’t happen much from April onwards.

After the embryo transfer on the 25th of May, I felt like I was made of glass. I’ve done transfers where I’ve rested afterwards and I’ve done transfers when I’ve gone on as normal; the ones where I’ve rested were the ones where I had the most success, so with Laurie’s round, I rested.

And then from June onwards I pretty much threw up until the end of 2017 (and then into the first month and five days of 2018 as well). Once I was about six or seven months pregnant we were able to take the occasional shuffle ‘to the bump and back’ (a family landmark down the road from our house). But other than that, my efforts to walk from Rivendell to Moria went sadly abandoned. Just as well I wasn’t the one responsible for getting a small gold trinket into a fiery chasm!

Laurie taking a walk

But now Laurie is definitely more mobile and a good walk tires him out and we live somewhere really beautiful, that we try to go for at least a couple of walks a week. The fact that the evenings are drawing in now means we’ll be a little more limited on our walks, but in the next few years I’m hoping I’ll get back into my walking again.

And maybe this time I’ll have a little travelling companion to walk alongside of me.

This blog post is part of a series for Blogtober 2019. You can see the prompts I’m using below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? Have you ever taken part in a walking (or other outdoor) challenge?

Health · Parenting · The Noodle · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 5: Something to eat

I saw a post on Facebook the other day which was along the lines of ‘adulthood is realising that you have to decide what to cook for dinner every night’. I think it stuck with me, because it’s true.

I’m very lucky in that Laurence is not an especially fussy child. There’s certain foods that he favours over others; mini cheddars will always be top of his list and given the option he’d probably eat them for breakfast, lunch and tea. He doesn’t seem to be especially fond of tomatoes, which isn’t a huge surprise to me since they make my mouth feel very uncomfortable (and I wonder if he experiences a touch of the same).

But one of those things that no one really mentioned when they discussed parenting stuff was the fact that you have to come up with meals to feed the child. Every day!

Laurie eating chicken ball

I feel the need to be slightly more varied in Laurie’s diet than I would be with my own. I’d happily eat spaghetti, meatballs and cheese three times a week, but I’m fully aware that my son needs foods with a little more nutritional value than that. So since having him, I probably eat a little more healthily than I did before.

I also cook more too.

And I’m not a cook!

But there was something about realising I had to provide for this little person that made me look up things like ‘how to make sweet potato fries’ and ‘healthy biscuits’ and various other things. I’m embarrassed to admit how many attempts it took to get the perfect soft boiled egg for him!

I cook. But I don’t love it.

Since having the boy, I have to admit, we eat out rather a lot more than we did pre-child. This is mainly because we wanted to get the little man plenty of experience of eating out, so he got the hang of how to behave while we were in restaurants and cafes. It’s also because we take him on lots of days out and while taking a packed lunch is practical, we live on an island so the variety of places you get to eat in the city means a meal out can be a bit of a treat.

Laurie eating ice cream

I like to think that we’re giving the Noodle opportunities to expand his pallet but he’s a typical 20 month old right now. I think the following points sum him up quite well:

  1. Cheese is life.
  2. Mini cheddars are basically cheese and crackers smushed into one and are therefore like cheese but better.
  3. Orange segments are somehow addictive; he can’t just have one.
  4. If the same item of food is on the toddler’s plate and someone else’s plate, the piece on the other person’s plate is vastly superior to their own.
  5. If all else fails, the labrador will eat it.

As much as I try to keep giving him plenty of variety, and give him a graze plate each date with lots of different tastes and textures, I can pretty much guarantee that he will eat the cheese or mini cheddars, he will inhale the orange segments, he will beg toast fingers off of my plate while ignoring those on his own, and even if I think I’ve made the best plate there could ever be, he’ll still want to feed half of it to Tara!

And I guess that’s just life with a toddler. I’m pretty sure that in the future we’ll have fussy phases where he wants to eat nothing, phases where he’ll request foods only to turn his nose up at them once they’re prepared, and phases where he only wants sugar.

I’m pretty certain I can ride all of those out.

I just need to get better at figuring out what to do for tea each night!

This blog post is for day 5 of the Blogtober 2019 blogging challenge. See my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

How do you decide what to cook for tea each night? Any tales of feeding toddlers (or humans of other ages)?