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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Good News and the Bad News - 25 weeks

I had a cervical length ultrasound check today and it was a bit of a good news / bad news situation.  The good news was that Boo2 is growing perfectly, he was on target in all of his measurements (though they don't do a full growth scan until 32 weeks) which really put my mind at rest on his growth.  He was a few days behind a couple of weeks ago but now he is bang on target for the number of weeks which makes me very happy indeed!!

The bad news is that my cervical length has gone from a steady 3.3cm to 2.65cm - a significant reduction in only just over 2 weeks.  I called my doctor because I was very worried and he said it is fine, nothing to worry about.  All of the research that I have done suggests preterm birth with a cervix length of less than 3cm at 25 weeks.  

I really don't want him to come early, there are just so many risks.  I really would like to get to the 38 weeks to have the Ceasar so he has every chance in the world but I am feeling that this is becoming less and less likely.  I will be able to talk further with my Doctor on Monday about anything that I can do to help this situation but I suspect that the answer will be 'nothing'.

I feel a bit beaten down.  I know I will feel better in a day or two but honestly, it would be nice to go into scan and not feel more worried when I came out.  The crazy part is that the last 2 weeks I have really reduced as much activity as possible and have rested as much as I can.  I think I am going to have to be even stricter with myself from now on.

**Sigh** I really, really just want this precious little baby to be safe and stay in for as long as possible.  I really want that.  I am praying.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Being an Older Mother...

I did not have a choice in whether I was an older mother or a younger one – well, I suppose we all have choices but I didn’t meet JourneyMan until I was 34 and we were married just before I turned 36.  We knew that we were going to have to do IVF before we got married so we started IVF when I was 36.  I got pregnant with JBB when I was 38 so we suffered through 2 and a half years of cycles before we were successful.  I am now 41 and pregnant with Boo2 and hopefully he will arrive healthy and happy a few months before I turn 42.

So what does being an older mother mean to me?  Firstly, I think definitely think that the physical part of pregnancy, raising a newborn and a toddler is more demanding as I age.  This pregnancy is definitely physically harder than the last and there is only a few years between the pregnancies but I am definitely finding it a lot harder.  Then there is the recovery from the ceasar to deal with and a newborn whilst running around after a toddler, I think that will also be pretty demanding physically.  The biggest worry for me physically is ‘can I keep up with the demands of these two children?’ and mostly I answer that by knowing that I will have to be in my peak physical condition and take care of myself in order to be there for them for the longest time possible.  Once this pregnancy is done, the focus will definitely be on getting and staying fit again, eating as healthily as possible and allowing myself down time to recover (sometimes not an easy thing!).

In terms of my mental health, being an older mother is a great thing.  I have lived a full life, I have travelled extensively, I have been successful at my job, I read and research like there is no tomorrow.  I have had counselling through my life if I have hit snags, I am not afraid to ask for help if I need it – I am a super place mentally compared with myself 10 years ago (which I was a big mess but that doesn’t mean that all 31 year olds are!!).  I think I have a good outlook on life, I am happy with how I prioritise and my family is absolutely number 1.  I don’t feel like I have anything to prove in my career, I like my job but it is not my life.  There is no resentment that kids have interrupted my career – they certainly haven’t.  I used to look for meaning in what I did for a living, now I find meaning in the most everyday things:  finding a new meal that JBB loves to eat, seeing JBB squealing with laughter as he plays with the dog, teaching him to sing a new song, reading a story to him and seeing him understand more and more each day, taking pleasure in a bath on my own with a good book, finding new author’s to read, seeing a good movie, laughing at JourneyMan’s ‘dad’ jokes, discussing life with JourneyMan or my Bestie – life is good and a new baby will enhance that even more.

Emotionally, I know who I am.  I am happy to listen to advice from others (I have had some amazing help from people) but I am happy to trust that I know best for myself and for my family.  I believe that I am a good mother (being pregnancy couch bound notwithstanding) and that I am giving JBB the best start in life that I can.  Most of the time (cycle disappointments also notwithstanding), I think that I am a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, niece and coworker – I generally have good relationships with people and think that I am a good role model for my kids.

Financially, even though we have taken some serious hits doing IVF, I am reasonably stable in my ability to earn a good wage to contribute to our household budget and to give our kids a good environment, education and experiences in life.

So, my feelings, essence about being an older mother are generally good though I do feel that I need to do everything in my power to stay as physically healthy and happy as possible to be in my kid’s lives for as long as possible.  I don’t necessarily feel that it is ‘better’ being an older mother to being a younger one, I think that there is good and bad with both and that it depends on the person. 

I do hope that I will live long enough and that I am healthy enough to see and take care of my grandchildren!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Firstly, let me just tell you how grateful that I am to be pregnant.  Every day, I thank God, my angels, my doctors and every other man and his dog for my family.  I am hoping that this little man, Boo2 will come to us happy, healthy and our wonderful little family will be complete.  Yes, I am very, very grateful.

But……I am HUGELY uncomfortable this pregnancy.  I can’t remember it being as bad with JBB.  I definitely weigh more so that is going to be more uncomfortable but I feel like I can barely function.  Last time, I also didn’t have a 2 year old to chase around and pick up after.  I am a bit flummoxed though at what has me so exhausted.

Yes, there is a lot going on with my sister’s hen’s day and wedding coming up.  Yes, it is tough working and trying to keep a house running and yes chasing after a two year old has its moments but plenty of other women do this every day and are not almost confined to the couch with their house a disgraceful mess and barely a meal being put on the table.

It has been a tough pregnancy, starting with my Dad dying, extremely debilitating cramps and now the two vessel cord worry.  Emotionally, this has been way tougher than the pregnancy with JBB but I wouldn’t have thought that I could barely get myself out of bed in the morning?

I think that the hardest thing is that I feel like I am a bad mother to JBB at the moment.  I don’t have much energy to play with him.  I can’t pick him up because he is so heavy.  My emotions are all over the shop.  One day last week, he leaned on my boob with his elbow so hard that I burst into tears.  He got very upset and frightened but I couldn’t stop crying.  Honestly, I felt terrible scaring him like that.  Not long after, we were tucked up reading a story on the couch but I have felt awful ever since.  This more than anything else convinces me that this is definitely our last cycle and child.  I am not getting any younger and whilst I think that there are distinct advantages to being an older mother (a post on this will be coming soon) but being 41 and pregnant is not really that easy.

Thanks for reading.  I really am grateful, just saying.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Once again, there has been an online argument within the Facebook 'parenting after IVF' group that I am still a part of.  I don't post anymore but I can't seem to pull myself out of reading what is happening on there.  I have been very much tempted to post my concerns about the two vessel cord (which continues to prey on my mind) but I am also afraid that they might turn on me.  Sad but true.

Anyway, the argument started about whether dropping your child off at day care and them crying for you and controlled crying are equivalent.  As you can imagine, people got very passionate about it.  There were mothers who believed whole heartedly in controlled crying and there were some that accused these mothers of not nurturing their child.  There were mothers who wholeheartedly believed that the best thing for their baby was to be with them 24/7 and there were those who accused these mothers of smothering their children.  There were pregnant mothers who wholeheartedly believed that they would never let their child have any anguish and those that accused them of not knowing what they were talking about because they are not mothers yet.

My opinion?  I don't really go in for the terms 'attachment parenting', 'Tiger Mum's' or whatever.  I believe in parenting the child that is in front of you.  Of course, all of the different techniques work with different children because all of the children are different.  I never really wanted my child to 'cry it out' but in desperation for sleep, I tried it and hated it.  That's not to say that it doesn't work, I am sure that it works for some kids and parents.  When I was pregnant, I tried my best to have as few expectations of what it will be like to be a parent and what I would and wouldn't do because I had seen so many different children with completely different personalities and they all required different parenting styles. 

I am fully prepared that Boo2 will be a completely different child from JBB and may need a completely different parenting style.  How I go about finding what that style is - try everything until something works, research the hell out of everything and talk to everyone I know to see what their idea's are.  That's just how I am but I don't expect anyone else to be that way, I expect them to be whoever they are.  I also don't expect to be told what I 'should' be doing with JBB from people who rarely see him but are 'qualified' - i.e. maternal health nurses (I see their advice as a guideline only) and well meaning family and friends.  I am happy to listen to your comments and advice but I reserve the right to discard it if I don't believe that it will work.

The main thing that I don't understand is why is there the need to attack other people's parenting styles? I mean, as long as you are not abusing your child in any way, I am sure are doing the best thing that you can.  Isn't that what we are all doing?  The best we can?  I am sure not a perfect parent, I have done many things that I wish I hadn't but most of the time, I am very proud of the mother that I am to JBB and I am super excited about being whatever mother that Boo2 needs.

I wish for a world in which we are more tolerant of each other's differences.  Cheesy, I know but that is what I wish.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What to say......

We went to a wedding on Saturday for one of my girlfriend’s.  It was a lovely day (though it didn’t end well, more on that later) and great to catch up with everyone after the Christmas / New Year period.

I had trouble talking about the pregnancy though, everyone wanted to know how I was feeling and how it was all going.  I wanted to tell them all was fine and good but I felt uncomfortable about it because I don’t feel like everything is fine.  I also didn’t really want to discuss the full truth because a) I didn’t want to face it myself and b) I didn’t want to bum anyone out – especially the couple of friends who are pregnant.

For the most part, I managed to avoid the in depth discussions but unfortunately I couldn’t avoid letting some people know and I feel uncomfortable about it.  I wish I could cheerfully say that all is great but that feels like a lie.

I guess that it is something that most pregnant women take for granted and certainly when all was fine, I would happily say ‘yes, I am feeling fine and all is going well’ but now such a simple question that I think that people feel obligated to ask, has become a minefield that makes me not want to go out and see anyone, I would just rather avoid the question rather than have to stumble over it.  Unfortunately, we have a lot of events coming up – my sister’s hens day and then her wedding being the main ones.

.I think that things are okay right now but I can’t help but be worried still.  I am definitely using the Doppler more, I used to use it about every 3-4 days but now I check every day.  Thankfully Boo2 is moving a lot more so that is very comforting.

We had to leave the wedding early on Saturday night.  I have been having lots of cramps all week and then Saturday everything just became worse.  The wedding was black tie, difficult for a pregnant woman to pull off – I felt like a red mountain in my dress.  The ceremony was at 3:30pm and things started to go pear shaped then as the cramps came on.  I took some paracetamol to see if I could head the cramps off at the pass but unfortunately, no dice.  We got to have a rest in between the ceremony and the reception – we also dropped off JBB to my sister’s place where my Mum was babysitting JBB and my sister’s son.

I wasn’t particularly worried, as I experienced pretty bad cramps throughout the pregnancy with JBB but it was very painful.  I thought that I could just put up with them for the night, I generally did pretty well with that through the pregnancy with JBB.  What I didn’t account for was how much worse they are this time and let me tell you, they were bad.  We had to leave the reception early and let me tell you, the reception was at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants and we had to go before dessert, I am gutted.  I also felt terrible for the friends on our table, who we basically bailed on without a word and also my lovely friend, the bride – I am sure she had a wonderful night though.

When we finally picked up JBB at my sisters, my Mum asked if I was alright and the previous hours of pain got to me and I burst into tears.  We got JBB and finally got home where JourneyMan got a hot water bottle for me and I tried to get the cramps under control to get to sleep.  I did get to sleep and slept well, JourneyMan took care of JBB while I had a sleep in.

This morning I remembered that at this time in the pregnancy with JBB, I had progesterone pessaries to help my small (deformed) uterus to stretch easier.  I called the OB but my normal one was away.  When I told the on call OB what had been happening, she wanted me to go in for a scan to make sure that my cervix was nice and closed and that Boo2 was not distressed.  It was all good on both counts and she has prescribed the pessaries for me so the next 3-4 days should see an improvement.

It has been an exhausting weekend.  Hopefully the pessaries will start to do their job asap and things will get a bit more comfortable.  It was nice today to get to see little Boo2 again though, I never regret an opportunity to ensure he is okay and it was delightful to see his little booiness again!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stripping away the guff….

The journey to a baby can be a rocky one and for some lucky ones, they path to a baby is easy – one of the the biggest worries being ‘should we find out the gender of the baby?’.  Sometimes I envy the people who had an easy run.  I wish I didn’t know how IVF worked in intimate detail or I wish that I could unconcernedly tell everyone about the baby before the wee stick is even dry.  In both of our positive pregnancies, we have told our families of our success straight away basically because they knew that we were going to Thailand.for a cycle.  This time was even harder because people knew our history and when my Dad died, my family told everyone that I was in Thailand and they correctly made the assumption that I was there for a cycle.  It was an uneasy first trimester with so many people knowing about the pregnancy so early.

Sometimes, I am so green with envy of my friends that get pregnant ‘as soon as they look at each other’ that I want to scream.  At a Christmas dinner with my girlfriends, one of my girlfriend’s was telling me about how her husband had been booked in to have a vasectomy (they have 3 kids) but with a week to go, they both just couldn’t face the vasectomy, they didn’t want to close the door on a 4th child.  Despite being pregnant myself, I felt sick with jealousy that they have the simple luxury of this choice.  Our choice to have another child would mean finding another minimum of $25,000 to go to Thailand for a fresh cycle, to put our lives on hold further, to decide whether the risks on mine and the baby are worth it once again.    For me, I would love to have another child, indeed, I had always dreamed of having 4.  Sadly, that dream is just not achievable any more, financially, emotionally or phycially.  I don’t know if I have completely let go of trying for three but there is barely any daylight in the crack in that door (maybe if we won tattslotto).  I think our best course of action is to (hopefully) have another beautiful son, thank God, the universe, the angels, the doctors, nurses, friends, family, commenters, and any of the other hundreds of people involved in bringing our family to us and move on with the business of being an actual family.

At this moment, when all I hope and pray is that my second darling boy will be healthy and in our arms in May, I know something this pregnancy that I only suspected last time.  The worry is worth it, the risk is worth it, the financial strain is worth it, they physical toll is worth it. 

The jealousy goes away.  It can still hurt sometimes but when I got home from the Christmas dinner with my girlfriends and checked on JBB in bed, his angel face melted all jealousy into gratitude.  At the end of the day, all of these petty jealousy’s and wishes for change mean absolutely nothing when you are holding a new born in your arms who is dependent on you for everything in their life.

I know that the journey has been hard (hard seems such a small insignificant word for such a tough time), it has changed me irrevocably but I am proud of who I am.  I am proud of the wife that I am to my husband, the mother that I am to my son, the daughter that I am, the sister that I am and most of all I am proud of the person that I am.  I am not perfect, that’s for damn sure but I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without the journey that we have been on.

For now, despite the worry, I am grateful.  I have felt my darling Boo2 kicking up a storm today and every time it happens, I smile.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2 Vessel Cord

After yesterday’s scan, JourneyMan and I did some research on the internet and then the panic started.  We found that 2 vessel cords increased the incidence of chromosomal and congenital defects (especially of the heart and kidney’s).  It also significantly increased the risks of still birth and low birth weight babies.

I tried not to worry until we spoke to our OB today but of course, the worries crept in.  Unfortunately, it is not only the 2 vessel cord that we need to contend with – it is the unicornuate uterus that can also contribute complications (incompetent cervix, high risk of miscarriage, preterm labour and low birth weight) as well as the factor V leiden which can cause late term miscarriage, higher risk of blood clots, early onset of pre-eclampsia , higher risk of placental abruption and a higher incidence of poor fetal growth.

It made me start to wonder ‘how many chips can you have stacked against you before it all crumbles?’  Is this 2 vessel cord the straw that broke the camel’s back?  I didn’t sleep well last night.  I had many scenario’s running through my mind. 

Luckily the appointment was pretty early and I have the best OB in the world.  He launched straight in to what was going to happen with the 2 vessel cord and then gave us plenty of time to ask questions.  I knew that my OB would have dealt with this before because he specialises in high risk pregnancies and multiples and apparently the 2 vessel cord is more prevalent in twin pregnancies.  Indeed, he told us that he is writing a paper on the impact of the 2 vessel cord right now.  I love this man.

Here is the good news:

  • It is unlikely that Boo2 is suffering any chromosomal issues because we were already tested at came back with a very low risk
  • It is unlikely that the heart and kidney’s have congenital deformities because when the sonographers picked up the 2 vessel cord, they double checked the heart and kidney’s closely to ensure all is good – it is.
  • The likelihood of stillbirth does increase but they will monitor very closely from 32 and if there is any distress, they will get the baby out asap
  • At present he is measuring pretty much on the button for 21 weeks (he measured 21 weeks and 1 day on most of his measurements except his head which was 22 weeks and 1 day and the day of the scan was 21 weeks and 3 days)

Here is the not so great news:

  • If there is any restriction of growth, they will have to get the baby out early to reduce the stillbirth risk and that is always risky (but better than stillborn)
  • The risk of a low birth weight baby with the 2 vessel cord has increased by 30%
  • Boo2 and I have a lot of risks to contend with – I hope he is as willing as I am to fight with all I have to get him safely and healthy into the world

The doctor made me feel much, much better but I don’t think that I will be without worry for the rest of the pregnancy.  The most comforting thing that he said was that ‘the important thing is that I know about it, if I know about it, I can carefully treat it’ – I am glad that he knows too.  This man who brought my darling JBB, the light of my life, into the world safely – I trust him and hope that he can do the same for little Boo2.  The irony of the situation is that yesterday was the first scan for Boo2 that I went to that I wasn’t worried about hearing a heartbeat, I wasn’t even worried that there was something wrong.  I went in there confident that all was good.

I guess that it is just not in my plan to have a worry free pregnancy.  I absolutely, 100% don’t care if I have to worry through the next 17 weeks, if I have a healthy baby at the end of it.  It is not the pregnancy that I care about, it is the little life that I hope to meet (not for another 17 weeks Boo2 – listen to Mummy please!) and nurture into the future.

So, I feel much better today than I did yesterday.  I am going to have to take one day at a time and be thankful that I have been given this most amazing of gifts.  I am asking my angels for the help to keep my little darling Boo2 safe and sound.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A big update....

Wow, it has been awhile since I posted but most of that time was the Christmas rush as well as our holiday to the beach.  Here is a big update of what's been happening with everything over the past couple of weeks:


Well, Christmas was very full on.  The week before Christmas was a blur of packing, getting final presents, wrapping and helping out my Mum because she had 20 people over to her place for a Christmas gathering on the Sunday and 20 people coming over for Christmas lunch on Christmas day.  It was crazy times.  The Sunday of the Christmas gathering for my Mum's brother and his family was massively hot - originally we were going to have it outside but it was just too hot so we had our day inside.  JBB was also really tired and we were going to leave early because I thought we had no chance of being able to get him to have a sleep while all the kids were playing but he came up to me and said 'tired Mummy', so I put him to bed and he had about 2 hours sleep which was fabulous.

On Christmas eve, I spent the day finishing our packing for our trip away.  I also had packed us all bags for Christmas day because we would be leaving at 7am and would not be back to the house until after 9pm.  Once I had most of our house in order, I went around to my Mum's place and helped her get ready for the 20 people Christmas lunch.  I also had to make my maple syrup pork belly and a dessert for Christmas night with JourneyMan's family.

My younger sister is getting married in the New Year to a lovely man of Indian heritage and we always have dinner together at my Mum's place on Christmas eve and watch the Carols by Candlelight on the TV.  This year we decided to honour the Thai and Indian heritage in our families and we made a Thai and Indian feast, it was delicious!!  Thankfully it wasn't too late a night because we knew that Christmas day was going to be a very full on day.

On Christmas morning, JBB was up at 5:15am and Father Christmas had visited this very good boy!! It took him a little bit of time to get in the hang of opening up the presents but after awhile, he was very proficient and 'ripping it'.  He had such a good morning.  Father Christmas gave him some clothes, some Thomas train tracks and trains and a new bike - he was very, very spoilt!!

After a play with the toys and a shower and bath for everyone, we headed over to Mum's place for another round of presents (we were all very spoiled!!) and breakfast.  It was a big cooking day so basically we were cooking and organising from about 9:30am to we sat down to lunch at about 1pm.  Lunch was a bit scattered this year so we are looking at a change of format for next year to make it a bit easier for everyone involved!!

After lunch it was more presents and Christmas pudding and then we watched the dvd of photo's from my Dad's funeral - we wanted to have some recognition of him and it was nice to see all the lovely photos again.  It was very emotional though and thoughout Christmas time, I found I was grieving a lot of the time.  My Dad loved Christmas and I missed him so much, it was very hard.

After that we headed on the 90min drive to JourneyMan's sister's place for Christmas dinner and presents with JourneyMan's family.  The drive was super tough, JourneyMan needed to have a sleep so I drove most of the way and by the time we got there, we were all exhausted.  It was nice to see JourneyMan's family and spend time and have presents with them but it was 9pm by the time we got home and it was just too much in one day.  We are going to have to think about what will happen next year because that was really too much.

Once we got home, we finished our packing and took down the Christmas tree and tried to clean up as much as possible - we needed an early night because we were leaving for our holiday the next day at 4am.

Boxing Day

As it happens, I set the alarm to pm rather than am so we didn't get quite the early start that we wanted. We ended up leaving at 5:30am but that was okay because we still missed most of the traffic and JBB was pretty good in the car.  We stopped about 90 mins down the road for breakfast and then stopped again around 90mins later to take JBB to a big park along the way.  We had a pretty good break there and then continued on for the rest of the 7 hour trip.  JBB fell asleep so we continued to drive and he didn't wake until we almost reached our destination which was fantastic.  We stayed in a cabin and got ourselves organised and unpacked.  My brother, his wife and their 2 daughters arrived about 2 hours after us so we went and helped them to set up their tent.  My Mum, Sister and two of her boys arrived a couple of hours after that and we were all there.  We had an early night and commenced our holiday.


I can't believe how quickly those 10 days went - it was like the blink of an eye.  JBB had the best time every day playing with his cousins and there was never ending entertainment with a pool, a playground with a jumping pillow and the beach all within a few minutes walk of our cabin.  JBB was beside himself he was so happy.  The weather was beautiful though we didn't do a great deal of sight seeing because we were a bit like slaves to JBB's schedule.  He gets up between 5-6am so JourneyMan and I take turns in getting up with him and taking him away so that the other one can have a sleep in and I tell you, I needed it, I was absolutely exhausted.  Thankfully, JBB still has his afternoon sleep so most days I also had an afternoon sleep - it was bliss.  I got a lot of reading and sleeping done on the holiday but that was about it.

It was very sad up there too though.  My Mum and Dad started taking us to this holiday place when I was about 8 years old - we have all been going up there ever since.  It was very hard this year up there without Dad and sometimes I was overwhelmed with sadness.   I know that it is stupid and doesn't make sense but I think some part of me was hoping that he would be there when we went there because he always was.  We are thinking it might be our last year of going up there though I am not sure of it yet - we will look at our options.


We got home on Saturday and immediately set about unpacking, washing and cleaning the house.  We both had to go back to work on Monday so we had to get on to things straight away.  Yesterday was a pretty lazy day though I had the cramps and a headache big time so I didn't get to organise our food for the week - looks like it is going to be a bit of a slap dash week.

Boo2 (New baby)

So, most of the time everything has been going well with Boo2.  Before Christmas I rented a doppler because I was starting to have panic attacks that something was wrong and this helped to keep everything on track.  Most of the time I have been feeling pretty good but the cramps are becoming more and more frequent now which is not only painful but very worrying (even though I had this with JBB, I still can't stop myself from worrying).  They have been so bad that I have been having trouble walking, yesterday was an especially bad bout.

21 week scan

So, Boo2 is growing well and is measuring correctly and in the anatomy scan, we have found that everything is in its rightful place but today we found out that I have only a 2 vessel placenta and not the normal 3 vessel one.  I have read up what this means on the internet and I am very scared though I am trying to keep my panic to a minimum until I see the OB tomorrow - then I have many, many questions to ask.  I hope and pray that everything is okay with my little baby boy, Boo2 but as usual, the panic threatens to take over at any minute.  I am very worried.