Hello! Well, at last some good news for 2020.
I shared an update recently to say that Dan and I are expecting again (it freaked a lot of Shannon's pals out who initially thought it was her news, soz about that!) and promised to fill you in so here goes.
So, for those who don't know, it took about 5 years for us to have Brae, our first baby. Long story short, I have Polycystic ovaries which ultimately meant that we needed IVF to conceive. I've blogged about it before, back when we launched Oh Mumma so check that out if you want a bit more info on IVF in particular and our journey.
As I mentioned then, we were lucky enough to be able to freeze 9 embryos - in the IVF world 9 is a LOT! We were very much of the 'one and done' school of thought as for us it worked first time, we were lucky to get Brae and felt complete. We knew the embryos were safely in the freezer at Guys in London and thought we'd cross that bridge later - you can donate them, let them be used for research and lots more, who knew? Then lockdown COVID-19 happened...
For the first time, Brae wasn't surrounded by his cousins, friends and other kids in general, he just had Dan and I for company - poor sod! It was then that we started the 'what if we tried again' conversations. Wouldn't it be nice if he had a brother or sister to share his life with? My sister is literally my best friend and I can't imagine my life without her in it and it really made me think that we should at least find out more and decide whether to give it a go to at least be able to say to him once he's older that we tried. At that time the media was full of stories about couples having their IVF treatments paused or even worse, cancelled so again, didn't think too much of it. I emailed our consultant at Guys and he suggested a zoom call to discuss options. The zoom call was a complete disaster as he had no idea how to work zoom and I knew we were paying £200 for the pleasure. Luckily he's a lovely guy and in his own words 'much better at IVF than IT'. Fair enough. Next steps were to get me in to check my ovaries were still in the same shape as before and if so, start some medication to prepare my body for receiving an embryo. I had an appointment the following weekend - we drove in and London was like a ghost town and same for the hospital too, so different to the first experience when it was packed. All was good and he sent me off with a prescription - that was a shocker, £200+ for drugs. I wasn't expecting that! Our first cycle was paid for luckily (IVF postcode lottery is a whole other topic for another time) and this time we knew we'd have to pay. They were really transparent about the costs from the start and because we had the embryos already we were over half way there so didn't have to pay anywhere near as much as many people do. Equally importantly for me, there wasn't the whole journey ahead of the injections, all of the appointments, blood tests, daily hospital trips and extraction surgery - that's the bit that really takes its toll physically, emotionally and completely takes over your life. After that it's all about looking at the date of your next period, working out when to start the drugs and then when to go in for check ups. It seemed so different to the first time round - it was so much easier, as if we were cheating. Of course there were no guarantees and it's still a massive rollercoaster, especially when the world is mid global pandemic but we both agreed it was the best time to try. That and the fact I'm 40 in January which is when everyone looks at you like you have 2 heads in the world of fertility. We agreed on one embryo only too. Some go for 2 as there's obviously double the chance of it working but there are also some increased risks and obviously the potential for both to survive and TWINS!!! First time round, maybe but second, not for us by choice.
I had the date for the embryo transfer in and had done everything I should have done to get my body ready. What I wasn't expecting the day before the transfer was for my employer to tell me that I may be being made redundant, great. Yep, we've just literally transferred the money for the treatment and there's no going back. Transplant day was fine. Well, actually it was weirdly emotional which I didn't expect if I'm honest. Dan wasn't allowed at any appointments obviously so I was on my own and got really teary in there and when I left which I really wasn't expecting. Anyway, that all went well. Our consultant said the embryo was excellent quality - exactly the same as the day it was taken and frozen and it had continued to develop as it thawed, all good signs. Next steps, relax, take it easy and rest. Err, easier said than done when you your livelihood is at risk pal... 11 days later it was time to do the pregnancy test and just as last time, we did several.
And, just like last time it was POSITIVE! FUCK! Amazing. We both cried, just like last time, and were in awe of the whole process. So much simpler and shorter than last time and somewhere we didn't think we would be if you'd have asked us 12 months ago.
When you are 8 weeks pregnant you go back to the hospital for an internal scan where they look for the heartbeat and confirm everything is OK. After that, you're treated as a 'normal' pregnancy on the NHS and patiently await your 12 week scan and again hope everything is OK. Again, all was good and as it should be, even for an old bird like me who's going to be....wait for it, 40, when this one arrives. Seriously, it's the quickest way to a complex about ageing going. The reality is that I have to take aspirin every day and will have a few more check ups than most so really no biggie.
With Brae I didn't really get any symptoms or side effects, apart from the initial tiredness but this time it's been totally different. The nausea was insane and every smell made me heave. I went from cooking something different every day in lockdown (thanks Gousto!) to eating the dullest, plainest food ever and freaking out at Dan if he dared to get out a saucepan, frying pan or anything that would 'stink the house out'. What was easier was the whole not seeing people and having to pretend scenarios. Last time I did everything to avoid socialising - no problem this time and having pretending to drink when you're really drinking non alcoholic drinks gets boring. This time, the most I had to do was sip a glass of Nosecco on a couple of zoom calls - cheers!
I'm coming up to 18 weeks now so that weird phase where you feel 'safer' as you've passed the first trimester but also don't really feel pregnant as the bump isn't massive yet and there's not a load of movement. Brae knows theirs a baby in my tummy but isn't 2 until January so doesn't really understand. There will be about 2 years and 4 months between them which seems like a nice gap.
Friends and family were delighted when we told them, yes there were a couple of 'Oh timings not ideal is it what with your job and Dan not working (he works in live music so this year has been a total write off for him like many others, yay!)' Yeah cheers Karen, we're well aware of that but 1, clearly my body is a ticking time bomb so the luxury of waiting a few years is not really and option and 2, what's meant to be is meant to be. We need some positive things to come out of 2020 right? I'll keep you posted with updates and share as much as you want to see but for now that's our Lockdown Baby story. I'd love to hear about yours.