Questions

If there's one thing that infertility tears apart, it's the ability to have some kind of plan for your life. Most couples make the decision to add to their family, choose when to start, and let things progress naturally from there; each time frame is unique, but it always happens in the end. Then there's the decision about whether to have more children - again, dependent on many things; finances, space, pregnancy complications - but the choice is there. Do we, or don't we? If we do, we try. If we don't, we give the baby things away and move away from the high chairs and prams, and towards a new stage of life.

For us, and I would imagine many couples who have faced infertility, it's a little different.
The question isn't as simple as 'Should we have more kids?' 
Sure, there are the usual points to ponder; 'Can we afford more children?' 'Do we have space for another child in our home/car?' 'Is having another child going to take away from our current family?' 
But there are other points too; 'Can we afford more treatment?' 'Do we have babysitting options for the girls if we start up on the IVF bandwagon again?' 'Would my parenting abilities change under all of those hormones again?' 'Is my mental health strong enough for the possible disappointment that comes with fertility treatment?' 'Could I handle another miscarriage?' 'Would our marriage survive the stress of more negative cycles?' 'What do we do with our frozen embryos?' 
It's a minefield, that's for sure; one that neither of us is ready to jump back into any time soon - even though my heart tells me that I could do this again, and that we have so much more to give. 
I can't bring myself to give away the baby clothes, as she outgrows them. I don't want to minimise our private health insurance, just in case we need private hospital cover for a future pregnancy. I don't even want to think about what we would do with our frozen embryos,because in my heart, they're ours. For now, everything is on pause, while we enjoy our family of four. Time is already flying by far too quickly for my liking, with our little squish not quite so little anymore & our big girl growing up before our eyes.
I don't know what our future holds. I don't even know when we'll be ready - all of us ready - to get the ball rolling with starting more IVF again, should we choose to forge ahead. But I DO know that whatever happens, my two girls are my whole world, and I'm so grateful to have them in my lives; and for them to have each other. Whatever happens, happens. 
Life is good. :)

Spirited

My hands have been full lately - in a good way!

I'm coming to realise that this little baby is not going to be the mellow, 'go with the flow' second sibling that I'd always heard about; the kind that gets lugged along to all of their sister's events and is content to follow along happily. Not in this household.

My kiddo knows what she wants, and I can see how strong her personality is already - at four months old! She laughs and talks with her whole face, and when she's happy, you can't help but be happy with her. But when she's not... oh man.

I often observe other babies when we're out and about, and the one thing that I've noticed with Claire is that she is loud. All babies cry, and that's perfectly fine - but when my baby cries? It's loud. LOUD LOUD. Loud enough to turn heads, that kind of loud. It echoes through rooms, it's the kind of cry that leaves her sweaty and red faced and sometimes breathless.

When she first did this at a few weeks old, it made me so nervous that I took her to the doctors for a check over, and again at the paediatrician. I was concerned it might have been silent reflux, or that something was causing her to be distressed. The verdict: physically, she was perfect. That's just her cry. Since then, I've come to realise that they were right - this is just her way. It's how she gets in the car, and we all know how much she hates that. It's how she gets when she's hungry, when she's sad, when she's tired. There's no soft little cry that escalates - it's just 0 to 100 in a flash.

She wants to be with you, to see what you're doing, to watch everything that's happening around her. She wants to sit up, even though her little body isn't quite ready for that yet. She lights up around Georgia & can recognise voices with ease.

Claire was a pleasant surprise from the start. That her transfer worked at all, that she made it through a rocky pregnancy; right up to when she graced us with her presence, looking so very different to her big sister. It shouldn't really shock me that her personality is her own as well - this spirited kiddo is going to be the best kind of handful; I can feel it already. :)

Sisters - what a lucky mama I am.

Four Months Old

... And just like that, we're at four months old!

My beautiful baby is changing every day - it's so lovely to watch. Watching her smile is just the best; it lights up her whole face, right up to her eyes. She's delightful.

I mean, LOOK AT THAT FACE. I am totally smitten.

This month has been full of smiles, screeches, and long car rides. She still hates the car, but tolerates it better in the convertible rear facing seat as opposed to the infant capsule. We also had to swap her pram from the flat-bassinet to the regular seat, so she's enjoying that a little more now too.

The most challenging thing about Claire is her sleep - it's not great. She's happy as can be, but she's up a lot. The longest stretch we've had is about 4 hours. I'm getting used to operating in zombie mode, but man, I miss my sleep like nothing else. It makes it a lot harder to parent Georgia calmly, that's for sure.

That said, she's still little. The late night snuggles and feeds won't last forever, so we're just going with the flow.

These last four months have gone so fast, I feel like I'm going to blink and I'll miss it. Love this little squish. :)

Three Months Old

Annnnnnnnd, in my sleep deprived haze, I have only just noticed that I forgot to update Claire's three month stats - and I'm almost ready to take her FOUR month stats this week. Whoops! #zombiemum

This last month, Claire started gaining more weight - largely thanks to having her tongue tie corrected the month before.
She also used to sleep ... which is one thing that has changed for the worse. We celebrated her first Christmas, even though she spent more time chewing on paper than actually taking anything in.
She's still been wearing 000 clothes but with those thighs... we aren't far off moving up another size!

She's not a newborn anymore, that's for sure. -sob-

Transfer-aversary

I still vividly remember our last transfer day. It was hot, and I was nervous. Nervous that the embryo might not have thawed well, nervous about another miscarriage, nervous about starting yet another year off with the potential for disappointment.

I remember how many times the doctor had to attempt the speculum placement. I remember them commenting that the embryo looked lovely. I remember keeping my legs tightly closed the whole drive home; something I've done after every transfer, even though I know it makes not a shred of difference to the outcome.

For anyone who's ever done IVF or who has never fallen pregnant of their own accord, that window after a transfer is magical. It's full of possibility - for a while, even just for a few short days, you're closer to being pregnant than you've ever been before. That shot that most couples get once a month, it's finally yours, after what feels like constant waiting. Those days have a lot riding on them, since it may be several more months before you get that chance again, if you're lucky.

You wait, you pray, you scream at the universe, and you pee on a million sticks. Most times it doesn't work.

But sometimes.. just sometimes, it does.

One year ago today, we 'met' our Claire for the first time. And now, she's here. I can't think of anything more amazing.

Baby Purchases I Should Have Made

Claire is 3.5 months old now, and has left newborn-hood behind while growing bigger every single day.

I sense she's going to be an emotional little poppet as she grows up - because she's either delightfully happy, or she's frightfully sad/angry. Life in the extremes; it's a real thing. When she was younger, I felt she would have quite a zen personality, she seemed so happy to go with the flow of things. Now that she's showing more of her personality, I am eating my words. She knows what she likes.. and what she doesn't like.

Unfortunately for me, those things involve sleeping, cars, being out of your arms... meaning I've not been getting much done around these parts, and that leaving the house is quite the challenge. That said - baby cuddles. Is there anything sweeter?

Now that we're a few months in, there are a few things I wish I'd purchased earlier to help with baby #2. It's probably too late to get them now, as they'd only be helpful for a short time anyway, but if we were ever to get to go through this again {wishful thinking?} OR if they should happen to fall from the sky into our laps, I think they'd come in very handy.

#1: A new breast pump

I kept my Medela Swing Maxi (double electric pump) from when Georgia was born - hoping I wouldn't have to use it with this baby. But, surprise! When Claire was having all of the issues early on, and when my boobs were so shredded from 8 weeks of tongue tie feeding, the pump soon became my best friend. Unfortunately for me, at almost four years old, it's pretty lack luster now. The suction is really poor, I've done all the troubleshooting to help it, and it's just not working. There are so many new, hospital grade pumps on the market now, I wish I'd just turfed the old one & purchased a new one.

#2: A padded swing

We borrowed a swing from my brother, but Claire is NOT a fan. Thing is, it's not the proper, cushioned, newborn-type swing, it's more of just a standard recliner seat that rocks. She was never comfortable in there & slid around a lot, so there was none of that blissful newborn swing napping that I've heard about from nearly every other baby in existence. I think if it had better padding & neck support, or potentially even the option to rock from side-to-side, she would have liked it better.

#3: A White Noise Machine

We currently use an old iPod docking station that has white noise options available as backgrounds, but we really need something that's portable and can go from room to room. We've only recently moved it out of Georgia's room and into ours - not that it's helped much with Claire's terrible sleep so far. There may still be time to invest in a good one... if I can convince hubby that it's worth trying.

Hindsight, eh? In the meantime... here is the reason I've been so busy and left my blog a little abandoned lately. This ray of sunshine // ball of emotions, she makes me smile every day. And throw in her bossy and fiesty and gorgeous big sister, and I am so happy... and so tired... and so lucky.

2016: The Year That Was

Happy New Year! I'm only a week late. :)

Reading last year's review post makes me sad - the place I was in was such a sad and frustrated one, and it was so, so lonely. If you'd told me that in a year's time, things would have been so much better, I wouldn't have believed you - how could it? But I was proved wrong. 2016 brought us hope.

I'm following the same format as years gone by - (2006200720082009, 2010, 2011201220132014 & 2015)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
Became a mama of two.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Surprisingly, yes! I vowed to get pregnant - and we did! :) 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I did! And it was wonderful. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit? None. We stayed close to home.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? A little more patience.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 28th, when we transferred Olaf. April 12th, when we found out that Olaf was a healthy baby GIRL. September 30th, when she was born & when Georgia became a big sister.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 With the help of bedrest, family and a good doctor, I managed to bake Claire until she was ready to be kicked out - and then thanks to a fast labour, I gave birth to her naturally.

9. What was your biggest failure? Wishing time away - now I wish it would slow down!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.

11. What was the best thing you bought? We extended our deck and added a pergola.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Oh, my lovely husband. I've said it before, how lucky I am - but this year took the cake. Not only did he take care of Georgia AND look after me during my weeks of hospital bedrest, he did it while starting a new job. He has continued to step it up and help us all adjust to being a family of four. My Mum has also been a rockstar this year. Very proud of her.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Quite a few people.

14. Where did most of your money go? IVF, pregnancy, baby stuff, pergola.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
BABY OMG BABY.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? 
Turning Page - Sleeping at Last

I've waited a hundred years
But I'd wait a million more for you
Nothing prepared me for
What the privilege of being yours would do

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter.
(c) Richer or Poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Sleeping - I miss it.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stressing out - trying not to sweat the small stuff.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2016? With our little family, once again. :) 

21. Did you fall in love in 2016? My heart expanded even more this year.
22. How many one-night stands? I'm too old for these questions now, I fear.

23. What was your favourite TV program? The favourite this year was Westworld.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yes.

25. What was the best book you read? I've been embarrassingly slack on the book front this year. I did enjoy 'The Girl on the Train' earlier in the year.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Well, they're new to ME - Straight No Chaser. I listened to them a lot at Christmas time.

27. What did you want and get? My sweet Claire.

28. What did you want and not get? Time and understanding.

29. What was your favourite film of this year? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 32 this year, and we spent the day at the park with Georgia, at 29 weeks pregnant!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having family things work out differently.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Stretchy maternity clothes!

33. What kept you sane? Friends, family & the internet.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I quite like looking at the guy from the Divergent/Insurgent movies.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Donald fucking Trump.

36. Who did you miss? I miss my Dad.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My lovely new Mum friends, who have been so lovely this year and got me through the crazy newborn days that I had almost forgotten about.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016. You've got this.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “Welcome to the planet, welcome to existence. Everyone's here, everyone's here. Everybody's watching you now, everybody waits for you now.. What happens next?"

40. What are your resolutions for 2017? I'm planning on letting go of the small stuff, and living in the moment with the family I never thought I'd have. :) 

Happy New Year, friends. 

The Difference a Year Makes

It's almost Christmas time! As I sit here and look at my slightly neglected blog - sorry, blame the baby! - the tree is flickering in the background and the decorations are up.. I keep thinking about what a year it's been.

This time last year, I was in a bad place. I was excited for the season, because I adore experiencing it through Georgia's eyes, but I was completely ready for the year to be over. I had just had my third miscarriage, and we were no closer to expanding our family. I spent December exploring other options for us, and my hopes were very low.

Little did I know that just the following month, we would see another positive pregnancy test, one that would stay, and grow, and develop into the tiny human who is snoring in her bouncer at my feet.

This Christmas, our family grew by two feet. This beautiful girl, she's the miracle I dreamed for last year - a sidekick for Georgia, a partner in crime. Claire is a gift, that's for sure. I'm so excited to be here.


On Hating the Car

Some days I think I'm doing okay with the whole 'keeping two small children alive' thing - and some days, I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.

Throw in two medical procedures in three weeks, and it's been pretty tiring. First Claire's tongue tie, then Georgia's tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, and we're all still in the recovery phase. It's been full on.
Both girls have come out the other side and are on the mend - which makes all the stress worthwhile. But I'll admit, it's left me feeling a little a whole lot frazzled. This mama needs a drink, a massage & a night out on her own.. stat!
The big kid is a 50/50 mixture of sweetness and attitude, serious attitude. When she's good, she's very very good, but when she's bad... oy. Brace yourself. She can be hard work - and requires a lot of patience.

The little kid is a ball of smooshy squishness and is absolutely adorable. I still can't believe she's here. She's turning out a lot like her sister; in that when she's happy, she's delightful. But when she's not happy? We ALL hear about it. In fact, half the street probably hears about it. Girl's got lungs.
The hardest thing about life with the two girls right now is going anywhere. Not because I can't cope with the two, or that they're hard when they're out - that's going ok for the most part, and getting out of the house is good for everyone. No, it's the way we get there.
You see, Claire hates the car.
HATES IT.
Not just dislikes, not just fussy; I'm talking hates it with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Our car rides are filled with ear piercing yells and screams, crying that builds up to fever pitch, that cannot be soothed until she's out of that hell on wheels.
Unfortunately for us, we're in the car a fair bit, especially on the hour round trip to Georgia's daycare. I literally have to brace myself at every traffic light.
I've tried nearly everything I can think of: with additional head support, with the head support removed from the car seat, car shades on the window, lullaby music, white noise on repeat, a mirror for her to see me, dangly toys, no dangly toys, dummy in (doesn't last long), her vibrating elephant doll that acts as a soother, air conditioning on arctic levels to ensure she's not sweating. I've even been to the doctor to make sure she's physically okay - and she's got the all clear.
It doesn't matter if I stop the car to comfort her; nothing works until I actually remove her from the car. And if I cuddle or feed to soothe, it's all well & good... until we get her back in, and she starts all over again. 
Has anyone else had a car-hater? I'm quite prepared to try anything to help her out of this phase. 

Two Months Old

What a doozy of a month this was!

Claire didn't put on a great deal of weight in the first half of this month, likely due to her tongue tie issues. It's been just over a week and she's feeding a lot better - so hopefully she'll just keep on gaining at a  healthy pace from here on in.

My little baby is not a newborn anymore - she's smiling, responding to you when you talk, watching Georgia like a hawk. It's lovely seeing her interact with her environment, her bouncer toys, and even the cats!

That said, those glorious sleepy newborn days are also gone, meaning she's awake a lot more and wants to be snuggled ALL THE TIME. Which is totally fine by me (babyyyyyyyyyyhugs) but means that poor hubby comes home to an empty dinner table more than I'd like to admit. Cereal for tea, anyone?

Claire has glorious munchable thighs, just like her sister had. In some respects, she's so much like her - in others, she's completely different. If I had a dollar for every time someone compared the two girls and exclaim that 'they look nothing alike!' I think I'd be a millionaire... and she's only 8 weeks old.

Yep, she's certainly different - she's her own little person, after all. And I LOVE it!





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