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?

IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 20: Family is…

It’s hard to explain the feeling of missing a family member who’s never been there to someone who has never experienced it.

Family Photo

Most people know what it’s like to miss a loved one who is no longer with us; whether they’ve just gone away for a while, or they are a permanent loss. It’s that feeling of finding something you’re dying to tell them, only to be hit with the realisation that they are no longer around to tell. And in that moment you would give anything to get them back to share your news with them.

The longing for a child who is yet to exist is like that, but different.

It’s the feeling waking up to empty arms after the most vivid dream where you held your baby. You’re so acutely conscious of the weight that was in your arms just moments before that for a moment you panic when they’re not there. Then the sadness sets in as you remember that they were never there.

It’s the sense of longing as your colleagues share what their kids got up to at the weekend. You so desperately want to join in on the conversation, but you have nothing to contribute and as you listen to what they say, your mind drifts to imagining what your weekend would’ve looked like with a child in your home.

It’s the pain of waking up to cramps on a lazy Sunday morning and knowing that it’s not even worth unboxing the pregnancy test in the cupboard because you’ve already got the answer to the test. You know that instead of getting to do the cute pregnancy reveal to your partner that you’ve always planned, you’ll be eating your body weight in chocolate and hugging a hot water bottle to survive work the following day.

It’s avoiding every Baby Event in the supermarkets and Back to School offer in September. It’s the sadness of another Christmas without an extra family member to buy presents for and one less person to help put up the tree. It’s blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and making the same wish for the fourth year in a row, all the while hearing your biological clock ticking in every cell in your body.

Waiting for your child to arrive and knowing that it’s just Not. That. Simple. takes over your whole life. It becomes a part of who you are, even if it’s a part of you that is carefully concealed from the rest of the world. Every day there is some new reminder of this thing that other people have and that you do not; sometimes they even take you by surprise and you find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed in the strangest of places, like the library, or watching a band play.

But a family is something you can build as well.

Your family is all the people who support your through those darkest days. The friends who buy you cake when your IVF round fails. The internet strangers who read your blog and send you books that speak to your soul. The actual family members who can’t be there in person, but always let you know you’re in their thoughts.

Sometimes, when you’re trying so hard to make a family, you can overlook the family who is all around you at that very moment.

I don’t really feel like my family is complete yet. I still have that sense that there’s someone missing from our lives, but I’m optimistic that we’ll find them some day. And I’m so grateful to everyone who supported and helped us along the way to bring Laurie into the world, I hope they’ll be there when we need them in the future and that we can repay the favour when they need us.

This post is the twentieth in a series for Blogtober 2019. You can see my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Have you experienced that longing for another member of your family? When you had children, did have a moment when you knew your family was complete?

IVF

#Blogtober2019 – Day 16: Five Facts

Today I’m going to share some facts about IVF, purely because it’s one of those things that you don’t realise how little you know about it, until you’re having to learn the ropes while you experience it.

1. Approximately 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant
I’ve even read reports which suggest the figure might be closer to 1 in 7.

It’s not widely spoken about, so many couples often struggle in silence, fielding the questions and comments about when they’re going to start a family without people realising why there haven’t yet been any announcements.

Hopefully though, this means that it’s gradually becoming something that’s more widely spoken about, as the effect of infertility on mental health is now being recognised.

2. Although the treatment is called IVF, for many people the actual process used for fertilisation is ICSI
That stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.

When you see a news article with the stock photo of the egg with a needle containing a sperm being injected into it, that’s ICSI. Traditional IVF has an egg placed in a petri dish with a host of sperm and they’re left to get on and do their thing. ICSI is used for a variety of reasons; if the sperm sample has a low number of sperm, if they don’t move correctly, or if there are a high number of abnormal sperm, then an individual one is selected and injected directly into the egg.

The clinic where Laurie was conceived does this as standard now because they’ve found it has better results than IVF alone. We can attest to this (though it’s not the same for everyone); before the fresh round which gave us Laurie we did a round where half the eggs were injected and half were put in dishes to do their thing, none of the IVF eggs fertilised whereas in both rounds, almost all the ICSI ones did.

3. To be injected into an egg, a sperm has to be paralysed!
Obviously it must be hard to catch something so small, so the embryologist will need to render the sperm immobile.

They generally do this by bopping their tails with the needle used to collect and inject them! It stops them moving, allows them to be collected with the needle and examined to check for serious abnormalities before injecting them into the egg.

In the run up to use in an IVF or ICSI treatment, the sperm also gets a special wash as well to remove any unhealthy sperm as well as bacteria or unwanted additions from the sample.

4. A baby was born from an embryo frozen for a quarter of a century!
It’s thought to be the longest that an embryo has been frozen for and resulted in a live birth.

The embryo was frozen for 24 years and resulted in a healthy baby girl, born to a 25 year old mother. Her parents adopted the embryo (some couples decide to donate their ‘leftover’ embryos to others undergoing treatment to give them the chance to become parents).

In the last twenty five years, the freezing and thawing process has also been perfected so more embryos have a greater chance of surviving the thaw. The success rates for frozen embryo transfers are also improving. One report mentioned that women over 37 who use embryos frozen before they were 35 have a greater chance of becoming pregnant than using fresh embryos created after the age of 37.

Laurie was born from an embryo frozen for 96 days.

Newborn Laurie

5. On the day of an embryo transfer you are classed as 2 weeks and 5 days pregnant (if your embryo is a Day 5)
If it’s a Day 2 embryo then you’re 2 weeks and 2 days; if it’s a Day 3 embryo then you’re 2 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

This is because pregnancies are dated from the last menstrual period and assumes everyone has a 28 day cycle; even though in an IVF round it may not be two weeks since your period, it’s assumed ovulation (and fertilisation) happens on the 14th day of a woman’s cycle. Embryos are transferred on either Day 2, Day 3 or Day 5 of development (though some are transferred on Day 6 and there have even been Day 7 embryo transfers).

At this point you’re classed as PUPO, a charming acronym standing for Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. On the one hand you’re supposed to pretty much carry on as normal, but on the other, you’re to assume you’re pregnant unless you receive a result that tells you you’re not. It’s another one of those IVF limbo stages.

Legally, from a UK workplace perspective, from the day of transfer a woman enters a ‘protected period’ where she is classed as pregnant for the two weeks until test day, and a further two weeks after that if it’s a negative. If it’s positive, you’re obviously pregnant and entitled to all the same rights as any other pregnant woman for the duration of your pregnancy.

As you can see, it’s all a bit of a minefield!

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

Prompt LIst (1)

Were any of these facts news to you? Did anything surprise you?

IVF

#Blogtober2019 – Day 14: Earworms

Have you ever been stalked by a song?

I know, that sounds crazy, but bear with me here.

Back in 2017 we were in limbo. It was around March or early April and we were several weeks out from our fresh round of IVF which had ended in egg collection on the 13th of February. As it was a freeze all cycle, we had to wait until we were able to defrost and transfer our embryos.

It is a bit of a funny place to be. All of your momentum has been building up to collection and transfer, and when transfer isn’t able to go ahead, it kind of takes all the wind out of your sails. You can’t really relax because you’re thinking ahead to when treatment will start again but at the same time, you can’t really focus fully on it, because it’s yet to start.

Like I said, we were in limbo. And we were looking for some sign that this was going to be our time.

While we were in limbo, we were driving to work, listening to the radio, and we rounded a corner to find a beautiful bright rainbow. At the exact second that I pointed it out to the spousal unit, Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now began to play on the radio.

That, I thought, is a sign.

Logically, I’m sure that because I’d heard the song and decided it was a sign, I was 100% more aware of it and therefore picked up on it in places I wouldn’t normally have noticed it. But it did seem like the song followed us around.

On the way to FET appointments, I’d plug into my phone to listen to some music, and it would be the first track to come on. I put it on my Thinking Positive playlist on Spotify while I showered and it would crop up in the rotation. We’d listen to the radio first thing in the morning while I took my meds, and there it was again.

It was stalking us.

And it was nice. Reassuring. Like something was reaching out across the ether, giving our shoulders a little squeeze, and telling us it was all going to be okay. That nothing was going to stop us this time.

The day of our transfer was nerve-wracking, as all embryo transfers are.

First you have to wait for the call to find out if your embryos have survived the thaw. They’re such delicate little creatures (and even though the procedure for freezing and thawing has improved over the past 25 years, there’s always still that risk). I was terrified that we were going to blow through all nine embryos and have nothing to show for it.

Then you have to drink enough fluid to have a ‘comfortably full’ bladder. That’s an oxymoron if ever I’ve heard one. And then you have the wait to get called through, which feels longer than your bladder can possibly last.

You’ve got the sexy hospital gown and paper booties to don, along with your hair net. All the consent forms to sign. And then the procedure which is likened to a smear test, and I guess it would be, if the smear test involved feeding a catheter into your uterus with your prospective offspring onboard, whilst someone presses a scan probe into your uncomfortably full bladder, and you try not to pee on the doctor doing the procedure.

It’s such a magical moment.

In the hospital waiting room, I knew we had all this to come. We sat there, not talking, with several other couples, who were also not talking (some day I’ll blog about all the not talking that goes on in IVF waiting rooms).

There was a TV on the wall with some radio station playing but it was mostly white noise in the background. Until a familiar opening began to play.

And we can build this thing together
Stand this stormy weather
Nothing’s gonna stop us now…

And with that we were called through.

And we got to see Laurie for the very first time.

Transfer Selfie

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

Prompt LIst (1)

Are there songs that seem to crop up at significant moments in your life? Any songs that carry a particularly special meaning for you?

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?

IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 8: Share a Secret

I feel eternally grateful that I’ve been able to be so open about our journey to have our Noodle.

Laurie in ride

For so many people, infertility is kept as a secret and not shared with anyone. In some cases, even close family members and friends are kept in the dark about what a couple is going through as they try to conceive. And that’s fine if that’s what you want, but for many people the pressure not to say anything is incredibly isolating.

I made the decision fairly early on that I couldn’t do that. People in groups I was involved in online spoke about the things they told their employers in order to get time off work; dental appointments seem to be popular, gynaecological appointments are a good one (it has the benefit of being almost truthful). Lots of people use the excuse of having an ovarian cyst removed on the day of egg collection because it’s just a little bending of the truth.

Way back in 2013, I didn’t mention the reasons behind my appointments, just that we were going for some treatment at a private hospital. I’d just taken on a new role in a new team and didn’t want to do anything that might make me stand out.

But I also felt comfortable in that team and it was just the right environment to be able to open up and share what we were planning.

I happened to mention the fact that I’d had to have a big injection in my bum at the appointment I’d been off work for. A colleague innocently asked what that was for and, with heart thumping and palms sweating, I casually replied ‘fertility treatment’.

I think infertility (and its devastating cousin, baby loss) are those things that no one talks about, but everyone has been touched by it in some way.

Everyone knows someone who had to have fertility treatment, or who wanted children but couldn’t have them, or who had a tragic loss. And yet it’s one of those subjects that is taboo and we rarely speak about.

Laurie at Baby Sensory

I’m not even sure that my decision to share every step of the journey was really a conscious one; more a question of share a little, share a lot. The funny thing was, once I started opening up and sharing what we were going through, people were curious and would ask questions. It was one of those things that was so rarely discussed that they had no frame of reference of what IVF actually entailed.

And so I blogged about it.

And I shared photos on Instagram.

And I posted on Facebook.

And hopefully some people who didn’t know much about the process, will know a little more about it now.

And maybe someone who is faced with it themselves will realise they’re not alone in this.

Today’s post is the 8th in a series of Blogtober 2019 posts. See my full list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Are you outspoken about something many other people keep secret?

IVF · Parenting

#Blogtober2019 – Day 6: I’m Never Without…

When I made up this list of prompts, I was thinking incredibly literally with this one.

I envisioned a nice spread of all the junk I carry around with me in my bag on a daily basis, all laid out on our rainbow rug. It would’ve made a good visual for this post.

But instead, I’m getting back to part of my aim with this blog; to raise awareness of what life is like dealing with infertility.

Newborn Laurie

I’m never without the scars of infertility.

That’s probably kind of deep for a Sunday night, sorry about that.

You think that things heal with time, but at the same time, there’s something about being told you’ll never do something that has a way of hanging over you and shaping your life.

Perhaps if I’d never really wanted a family, getting the news in 2012 that we’d not be able to do it the old-fashioned way wouldn’t have been such a blow. I’d have thought wow, we can save some money on condoms and gone about my life as before.

Instead, it kind of took over my life and even now, sitting here with my 20 month old tucked up in bed in the next room, there’s still not really any escape from it.

When I type I’ve on my phone, the predictive text still asks me if I might mean IVF.

When someone I know announces that their pregnant, I try and do the mental gymnastics to figure out when their appointments were and how they kept those quiet, before realising that most people don’t actually need to go to a hospital until after they’re pregnant.

When I need an injection or blood draw, I’m able to direct the person doing it to the best veins. I’ve even been known to request that I’m allowed to do my own injection if I know it’s going to sting (Clexane/Inhixa, I’m looking at you)!

I calculate sums of money in terms of IVF costs. A £250 flight package is a year’s embryo storage; a £1000 win on the Premium Bonds is a trigger shot plus £100 towards a hotel room for the night before egg collection; £3000 for a car is a whole shot at a frozen embryo transfer!

When I hear news of a pregnancy I find myself doing that weird mental adjustment because of the happy for them, sad for me feeling that inevitably follows.

It’s such a complicated mess of feelings and it catches you when you least expect it. You’ll be minding your own business, going about your day, and suddenly there’s a news flash about a celebrity who has announced they’re expecting and your stomach does that little flip flop.

Or you’re clearing out old paperwork from a drawer that you should’ve dealt with months ago and you come across a letter from a treatment cycle three years ago and realise that you could’ve had an entirely different life with entirely different children, had that round worked.

Or you stumble across someone on social media, excited for her first cycle and convinced that this is the one, and you want to offer her advice but at the same time you don’t want to take away her positivity that sometimes it’s not first transfer lucky, sometimes it’s second, or even third. Or fourth.

And I have to mention social media a little more here. Because while I’m never without the scars of infertility, thanks to my Crew, I’m also never without the support network that you can find while you’re dealing with all the crap it brings.

I’ve happily found a little gang of oddballs and weirdos (they know who they are) who have all worn my shoes at one time or another. We’re quite the varied bunch, joined by our shared experiences. And although we’ve all successfully come out the other side of it, babes in arms, we all understand that our experiences never truly leave us.

And of course, if we hadn’t had those experiences, we’d never have had reason to meet and become friends. And I wouldn’t be the mum I am to Laurie today.

So while I might not always like the fact that I have that cloud lurking over my shoulder, when it’s not feeling too stormy, you can see the rainbow when you look closely.

This post is for Day 6 of Blogtober. You can see my complete list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Is there something invisible that you always carry with you? Maybe something a little more tangible that you can’t be without? Share in the comments.

Blogging · IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 Day 2: I blog, therefore I am

Welcome to Day 2 of Blogtober 2019.

I’ve touched on my reasoning behind setting up a blog before. In short, I like to talk. While I come across as pretty quiet to a lot of people, it’s probably no surprise to those who know me that once I start talking, there’s no shutting me up.

Laurie and Mum kiss

I guess I kind of have that internal monologue going on a lot of the time. Perhaps it’s because I spent so much time reading books featuring other people’s internal monologues, but sometimes I like to share what I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve kept diaries of one form or another since I was about ten or eleven, and I’ve blogged on various platforms since I was a teenager. When I became a parent I decided to start over with Of Needles & Noodles as a place to document the things I got up with my son.

Before this I’d had a blog where I documented the journey to have our son, right back from when we got the news in 2012 that we’ve need IVF to actually have a child. I shared the whole journey as well as the eventual pregnancy, but there was too much baggage on that blog and it made it hard for me to continue using it for my parenting adventures.

Newborn Laurie

Infertility has the strangest way of infiltrating all areas of your life and you can never truly escape from it. It made my blog feel like it was written by some other Cait, the one from before who couldn’t have children, so writing it once I had him felt a little like wearing a shoe that was a size too small.

What about the name?

My old blog was called Click’s Clan, a combination play on my name and nod to the fact that I lived in Scotland and hoped to have a gaggle of children someday. Part of what held me back was the name; I didn’t feel so much like just Cait anymore, I was Cait the Mummy, and the reality was, there might never be a ‘Clan’ there might just be an ‘only’.

So Of Needles and Noodles was born when the Noodle was about six months old.

Needles because of the needles it took to make him, and the knitting needles I like to use to create toys. Noodles because somehow by the time he was just a few days old, Laurence had earned the nickname Noodle in that funny way that nicknames seem to be acquired (I answer to Caketin at work), but also because noodles was often our dish of choice when we stopped by the Chinese buffet after IVF appointments.

It’s a name which is less about who I am and more about what we do as a family.

And why do I blog?

Quite simply, because I can. Because I like to shout into the ether and occasionally hear a voice back saying that they understand, or like what I’ve said, or can relate to what I’m going through. Because sometimes I feel like I have so many thoughts in my head that they need somewhere to spill out so I can focus on other things instead.

Because my little boy is only going to be little once and I want somewhere to share and remember and document the things we do together and the places we go.

And because I want to offer some kind of hope to that woman who is preparing to do an injection, or have another invasive scan or procedure, or is beginning that agonising wait to find out if her embryo is going to be The One, that you can get through IVF treatment and come out the other side as a parent.

This blog post is part of a series for Blogtober 2019, check out below for a list of prompts:

Prompt LIst (1)

Do you blog or keep a diary? How do you record your memories?

IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 1: Introduce Yourself

Family Photo

Hi, I’m Cait.

That’s me in the middle, pulling the cheesy grin (I don’t think I photograph well), and this is my little corner of the internet.

I’m Mummum to that little squidge in my arms, my beautiful little boy, known as The Noodle (though his birth certificate says Laurence). I’m also wife to the other guy in the photo above. I generally refer to him here as the Spousal Unit.

I’ve lived in Scotland over half my life now, though still have a stubbornly English accent. The three of us live on a small Scottish island just off the west coast, along with our crazy Labrador, Tara.

I spend most of my time these days talking about doing the Mum Thing, that’s because for the longest time becoming a mum was my biggest aspiration and my biggest fear was that it would never happen because our only hope for having a baby was IVF.

It took us over seven years to get pregnant with the Noodle, and over eight years from when we officially decided to start a family to when we finally held him in our arms. Along the way we had fresh rounds of IVF in 2013, 2015 and 2017; we produced a grand total of 17 embryos in the latter two rounds (the 2013 round was cancelled before egg collection due to over-responding to the drugs), of which 13 survived to Day 5 of development. In order to get our boy, we had four embryo transfers (one fresh, three frozen), transferring a total of six embryos (two single embryo transfers, two double embryo transfers).

It’s been a bit of a journey and I might touch on that a little more during my Blogtober posts.

As for me myself?

I’m the kind of lunatic who partway through her maternity leave, getting to grips with being a mum and having a newborn, decides that this is the perfect time to begin another degree with the Open University. I’m currently studying Latin and I’m halfway through a degree in Classical Studies. Just because.

I like to knit. I used to celebrate the fact I could breastfeed and knit at the same time. Then Laurence got mobile and that all went out the window. Now he’s a fully fledged toddler I’m getting a little bit of knitting time back (though the time I’m knitting I should really be spending on studying right now).

I take photos. I’m trying to get more adventurous with my DSLR and part of my reasoning behind this blog is to share the photos I take.

I enjoy reading. I used to say I liked reading anything, but since I’ve had Laurie I struggle with the crime books I used to read. I just don’t like reading about bad things happening any more, I guess because a lot of the time my brain is coming up with enough awful things that could happen to my loved ones, that I don’t need authors to give me any more ideas.

I’m a total introvert, though I tend to make myself act more outgoing when I’m out and about. My favourite place to be is in my little bubble at home with my boys. With an internet connection, obviously, for when I need some extra social interaction!

Prompt LIst (1)

Are you taking part in Blogtober? Drop a link to your Day 1 post below.

Not taking part in Blogtober? Leave a little introduction below instead.