Taking Arabella to meet her makers

Arabella is an IVF baby.

There were so many people involved in her conception, I don’t think people who haven’t been through fertility treatment realise.

First there was our doctor. She did our first consultation at the clinic. Went through all our history, decided what protocol and procedures would fit our problems. When it came to the time she did our egg collection (it’ll be a year on the 4th September) and then our embryo transfer, she placed our precious only embryo in exactly the right spot it seems.

Then there were the nurses who did all our blood draws, scans and consoled me after I had my ectopic meaning we had to put our treatment back.

The counsellor, she checked I was ok mentally to do egg share, that I fully understood the implications.

The receptionist who got so used to talking to me she recognised my voice and always remembered my name.

Then there are the embryologists, the people who take two tiny parts of two people and make something amazing, an embryo, which if you are lucky turns into a baby, and we were one of those lucky couples.

After more scans, blood tests, appointments and operations than I can remember we got our miracle.

I took a card to the clinic to say thank you, but no words I could write in a card or even here could express how truly thankful we are to all those wonderful people at our clinic who made Arabella possible, who gave us our miracle.

We were treated with humility and respect at every one of our appointments. How ever undignified some of the procedures are we were treated with dignity.

So from embryo

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To positive pregnancy test

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To first scan

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To baby

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We thank every person at the London Women’s Clinic Wales in Cardiff.

If you are in South Wales and looking for a fertility clinic I couldn’t recommend then more, our care has been outstanding.

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Arabella even got her very own LWC Wales bear.

Adorable.

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And I shall just leave this here.

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More information about LWC Cardiff can be found here on their website; www.londonwomensclinic.com/wales

From nothing to celebrate, to something to celebrate.

This blog popped up in my Facebook feed today.

adventuresofalabornurse – When theres nothing to celebrate.

I clicked on it not knowing what it was about, I read it.

It broke my heart, I have friends and family who have experienced still births. They’re some of the strongest women I know.

This post struck a chord with me as I’ve seen a lot of medical professionals in my time, I always remember the ones who are kind to me.

During my second ectopic pregnancy last year I was treated by a doctor called Paul, there was nothing to celebrate, I was a mess. I just cried and cried and cried. It was one of the worst times of my life. This year we met in different circumstances, he was one of my doctors during Arabella’s birth, we had something to celebrate. I remembered him right away. He had also treated me during my pregnancy when I had suspected preeclampsia. He’s genuinely one person I will never forget.

At the beginning of this pregnancy, 2 days after our embryo transfer I ended up in A&E screaming in agony, the worst pain of my life, a lady doctor came to see me, she listened to me, she helped me through it, she understood when I told her I didn’t want anything that would compromise a pregnancy in case I was, she treated me with so much care and respect, she was like an angel on that night, I can’t remember her name, I had what turned out to be ovarian hyper stimulation (OHSS) and it was genuinely 100 times more painful than giving birth. Fast forward 36 weeks and this lady doctor appeared in my life again, and actually delivered Arabella, she was there for me at the hard painful start of my pregnancy, unknown at the time and at the joyful end. It’s funny how things come full circle.

My Actual Birth Story!

Please bare with me on this one. My memory of it all is a bit fuzzy! Ha.

So if you’ve read the first part you now know I had been in hospital since the Tuesday being induced due to reduced movement.

We are now on Saturday!

Saturday

We spent most the day waiting around for a bed, I honestly thought we were going to end up waiting another day but at about what was I think 4pm we were told we had a bed and they we were off over to the main delivery unit.

So off we went, they showed us to our room, my mum was coming over for visiting on the other ward anyway so popped into see us.

At this point I was just so elated that things were going to start happening, we were finally going to meet our rainbow, our little miracle that we had watched grow via scans from a tiny 5 day embryo. I’m writing this with that embryo asleep on my chest. It still blows my mind that that ball of cells was how she started life!

Look! Embryo Arabella!!

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We met the midwife who was going to be looking after us till the shift change, I can’t remember her name but I do remember she was lovely.

To start with I had a midwife try and break my waters, she couldn’t manage it so went and got my doctor. The doctor obviously a pro at it just did it in the blink of an eye. I have to say your waters breaking has to be one of the oddest feelings ever, it’s like uncontrollably weeing yourself, with a fluid that is a lot warmer than wee. There was so much of it too, more than the doctor expected too I think. They checked it for meconium, there was none so we were all sorted. Whilst the doctor was down there she popped a clip onto A’s head to monitor her whilst she was inside me, much easier than messing about with the external one they strap to your belly.

Then the anaesthetist came into see us, we were asked if I wanted an epidural. Going into birth one of the things I had in my “birth plan” was that I wanted to avoid an epidural, but I also had expected to go into labour naturally, because I was being induced they were going to put me on the syncotin drip, which basically smashes your body into labour, I had heard lots about this from friends and other ladies on the ward, I was told how horrible and painful it was. I asked the anaesthetist what he would do if it were him, he said he would go for an epidural. He left us for a few minutes so we could talk it over and decide.

We decided to have it, and to be honest I think it was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

So in went the epidural, it wasn’t painful at all! Much to my surprise. It started to work, I was pretty impressed as I could still move my legs.

They then hooked me up to the syncotin drip, I could feel my stomach going hard and contractions but I felt no pain (amazing right!!).

I was exhausted from spending 6 days on the ward, you can’t sleep properly in hospital I find. My epidural allowed me to snooze through my labour.

I was checked at about what I think was 9pm and had got to 3cm dilated from 2. We had progress! But not much.

The monitor had stopped picking up my contractions and they were very irregular.

My blood pressure has started to plummet. It got to 75/35 at one point I think. I was going in and out of consciousness. My memory gets a bit fuzzy here.

They kept doubling the syncotin to try and get me to contract better but this was causing babies heart rate to dip and like she was in distress. They kept a close eye on us both and it was starting to look like a Caesarian section would be needed.

I think we got to like 3.30am and the midwife decided to check me, we were now being looked after by a lovely lady called Faye.

She checked me and much to both our surprise I was 10cm!! I had basically slept through most my labour and hardly felt a thing!

She informed us that we could start pushing in an hour. I stopped my epidural then as I wanted to feel as much as possible for pushing.

I then said to hubby that I felt like it needed to poo. Haha! How very undignified. He went to fetch the midwife, she brought me a bed pan and we chucked hubby out of the room. It’s one thing I just couldn’t bare to do in front of him!!

I tried and I couldn’t, midwife had another look and it was because baby was starting to come, she went out the room and told hubby that his baby was on it’s way!!

So she fetched the doctor, we started pushing, I got to the I can’t do it stage, I remember an episiotomy being mentioned, hubby said the doctor handed the midwife the scissors to do it and in that time I had pushed her head out, the thought of the cut must have been enough to spur me on!! We waited for another contraction and then one last push and there she was.

Placed straight on my chest, I was in awe. Here was our little person! Jamie cut the cord, we had cuddles whilst the placenta was delivered, the midwife showed it to us and made a comment of hour beautiful it was! Haha.

I had managed to get myself a second degree tear which I won’t go ion much detail about but it took 3 of them 2 hours to stitch me up!

Worth every second.

Here’s the birth announcement hubby posted online.

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Welcome to the world Arabella Faith Kenyon, all 8lb 3oz of you. You were truly worth the wait and the heartache and the tears.

My endless induction – the longest birth story in history!

I’m a bit late writing this, Arabella is now 4 weeks old and today we went to register her.

I thought it was about time I blogged my birth story before I totally forget everything.

Monday

On Monday the 12th of May I had my consultant appointment. I had been having episodes of reduced movement, consuls by basically went right, I want to induce you, and I was like, um ok, expecting her to book me an appointment for next week or something as I was 37+6. To our surprise she wanted to book us in for the following day! And do a sweep there and then, so she did a sweep and examined me. I was 1cm, my cervix was soft. They put me on a trace to check on baby, her heart rate was a bit high (due to being poked in the head no doubt!) and took about 2 hours to settle down, we left the hospital and were told to come back at 3pm the following day to start the induction process.

We went home and had a mad rush to get things ready, like unpacking the Moses basket and setting it up and checking and rechecking our hospital bags.

Tuesday

We didn’t have to go in till 3pm so I spent the day nesting/cleaning and being slightly overwhelmed that we were actually having a baby, after everything we had been through it still felt very surreal!

So, J finished work early and odd we went to the hospital, with 3 bags, one for me, one for baby and one full of food! Priorities right?!

We went up to the ward that I’ve been to many times before after being admitted with suspected preeclampsia (just a migraine luckily), gastroenteritis, and finally reduced movement.

I was shown to my bed (that I ended spending the next 4 days in!) and the did my obs and then took some blood, put me on a trace then left me for half an hour, came back, went through how the induction process works and examined me and put a 24 hour pessary in. I was still only 1cm after my sweep the day before, no change, I wasn’t really surprised.

So it came to 8pm, nothing was happening and partners aren’t allowed to stay on the ward so J went off home. Later on I started to get some mild period pains. Fast forward 24 hours and they examined me again, no change. We were now into Thursday.

Wednesday

So in they popped a 6 hour pessary, more period pains, checks again after 6 hours, I was now 2cm! Maybe we were finally getting somewhere. At my hospital they like you to be 4cm before they’ll break your waters, I had a long way to go. So another 6 hour pessary went in. We were now into Thursday.

Thursday

So I was checked again, nothing had changed. I now had to have a 24 hour rest period.

This included me sneaking out of the hospital to go home (2 miles away) for a bath and some home cooked food. Naughty me.

I have to admit at this point it was getting to be quite soul destroying watching woman after woman come onto the ward to be induced and go straight into labour.

Friday

I was examined by the midwife and she thought there was no point giving me any more pessaries as it wouldn’t make any difference. I then waited for my consultant. My consultant mentioned a c section, but by this point I had eaten so that wasn’t possible. She wanted to give me another pessary then examine me herself. So in went a 6 hour pessary. She came back later, examined me I was still 2cm but my waters were bulging and she was convinced she could break my waters. She said next free bed on the delivery unit they would take me over and break my waters.

Saturday

The next free bed didn’t come available till around 5pm I think it was. So off over the delivery unit we went, it was just a big relief to be finally getting some where!

And that’s it for today. Will blog again shortly about my actual labour!

And here’s my last ever bump picture on the day I went to be induced. Exactly 38 weeks.

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So I’ve been a bit quiet.

I haven’t blogged in a while.

This is because I’ve been busy with this;

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Arabella Faith arrived at 4.34am on the 18th of May weighing 8lb 3oz after a very long induction and an eventful labour which I will blog about in more detail when I have a more time.

Since her birth we have also spent nearly a week in hospital, including the paediatric high dependancy unit after the worst day of my life, which again I will blog about separately. Thankfully all is well now and we are back on track!

A couple more pictures of the squishiness;

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35+6 Growth Scan and Consultant Appointment

Yesterday I went for my growth scan and consultant appointment.

The hospital were super busy due to them only doing consultant appointments on a Monday and of course last week was bank holiday Monday so they were playing catch up.

My appointment was at 9.40 and we didn’t get seen till 11.40! Wow, have to admit I was starting to get the the end of my tether when they called me in.

Whilst we were waiting I saw a midwife and she checked my blood pressure (all fine! as good as my booking in appointment), my urine (all clear) and then much to my mortification she weighed me! Oh my lord, first time since booking in at 12 weeks, safe to say I thought I had put weight on, but not quite this much, its that much I don’t quite feel comfortable divulging the figure!!

I saw a consultant I hadn’t seen before, she scanned me and we found that she is still 97th centile and they estimated her weight to be 7lb 5oz! So still a chunk. Consultant just checked I felt well and told me to book another appointment in 2 weeks (37+6) but that she didn’t expect to see me as she thinks I will go into labour before then? Personally I am not convinced but this has prompted my husband to cancel some working away he was meant to be doing, which has made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.

After my appointment I went to boots to buy maternity bed sheets just in case my waters decide to go in bed as we only bought a new bed/mattress a couple of weeks ago!

I also picked up some colic drops at the advice of a friend, that its best to have them in just in case!

Maternity Notes

Zita West Vitamen & Vitafem Vitamin Give Away

If you have been following my blog you will know I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and it took us a while to conceive as I am reproductively challenged.

I wrote a little blog post about our journey here; My Infertility and our miracle.

I thought it would be nice to give something back.

Zita West is one of the UK’s leading fertility and pregnancy experts.

Her website is www.ZitaWest.com.

During my IVF cycle I used Zita West’s relaxation CD  and well it worked! I found a great help and really aided me in staying calm and turning off at night.

So I am giving away one months supply of Zita West Vitamen & Vitafem vitamins.

Zita West Vitamins

Just follow the link below to the rafflecopter page and follow the instructions.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

Well, I’m 35 weeks pregnant!

Sitting here thinking how has all this gone so fast?

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were doing our injections for our IVF, and now BAM we are 35 weeks pregnant!

It’s finally starting to feel a bit real. I mean I know I’m pregnant, I felt movement from 15 weeks but I guess I never truly believed I would get this far? That I would be this lucky?

I’m currently consultant led, I was consultant led from the start, just because this is an IVF pregnancy and that is what they do here. I was downgraded at about 28 weeks, and then put back to “high risk” again by my midwife due to me having some issues with high blood pressure and migraines, then I had my “your bump is measuring 4 weeks ahead” appointment and was referred for a growth scan, which showed she was 90th centile, which again meant I had to see the consultant.

My last consultant appointment he did another scan, turns out she was then 97th centile and they would like to scan again, so on Monday we are off for another growth scan. I am kind of hoping she was just having some crazy growth spurt and has calmed down a little, but I guess Monday will tell all. I’m hoping to be downgraded so I can have a water birth, but I just want her here safe.

So here’s my 35 week bump. I am really going to miss it when its gone, but I honestly cannot wait to meet her now.

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She also seems to really enjoy hanging out on my right hand side. It makes my bump look so lopsided and odd!

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We are all prepared for her to arrive now, the only thing I really need to do is get my car fully valeted as it has been used recently for ferrying our dog about as we have just bought a dog/baby friendly second car, a Volvo estate which will make traveling up to visit my family in Lancashire a lot easier.

My mum is currently down with us visiting. We did some shopping today and I picked up these from JoJo Maman Bebe;

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They were only £4 and are really handy and can be used to clip muslins onto car seats and prams to keep your baby shaded.

They can be found here online and they sell them in store; http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/sp+clam-p-clips-in-breast-and-bottle-feeding+d3173

Tomorrow we are off to a little town called Abergavenny for some afternoon tea and will be visiting my favorite baby shop Cuddle & Cwtch, they stock so many beautiful things, including Frugi clothing (my favorite!!). If you fancy a look their website is http://www.cuddleandcwtch.co.uk/ and you can shop online with them!

Did you miss your bump when it was gone? Anyone told they were having a big baby? What action was taken? Were you induced? It would be good to hear other peoples experiences.

My infertility and our miracle.

I thought I would shed a little light on how I got here, we are 33 weeks pregnant today and I still can’t quite believe it, every day is like we have won the lottery.

I have a long fertility (or infertility) history that started when I was 20, I accidentally fell pregnant on the pill, it was a huge surprise, we weren’t ready at all (this was with my ex partner), sadly this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 5 weeks, literally days after finding out I was pregnant. I then contracted an infection, and due to my cervix being open, this turned into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which went on to basically ruin my reproductive organs unbeknown to me.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had no idea my fertility had been ruined. I was suffering with pain quite a lot of the time, my GP finally refered me to the hospital to see the gynae, I had scans, tests and nothing was found, I was then offered a laparoscopy as they suspected I may have endometriosis, I went in for the operation, no endometriosis was found, which was great but they had found that my entire pelvic cavity was covered in scar tissue and that one of my fallopian tubes was stuck to its self. There was dye flow through the other one, over the years I was told by many different doctors different things about which of my tubes was and wasnt ok, swapping sides with which was the bad one.

I then had a second lap to try and fix my tube that was stuck. A few months after this lap I started having terrible pains one day in my lower abdomen, I had only had my period 2 weeks before, I did a pregnancy test and it was positive, there was much confusion, I went straight to A&E as I knew I was at risk of an ectopic. Long story short, it was ectopic, I ended up with emergency surgery and my tube being removed and losing my baby, again,

A few months later I had a HSG (xray and dye test to check tubes) and was told my remaining tube flowed, but not as it should. I was basically infertile, whilst I was in for my ectopic the nurse scanning me also noticed that I had polycystic ovaries, another blow.

Me and my then partner then went separate ways, for reasons I do not feel comfortable blogging about just yet, but maybe one day.

Then one of the best days of my life happened, I met the man who is now my husband, my rock, my soul mate. I was very open from the start about my lack of fertility. We moved in together and never used any contraception, because we knew the chance was so tiny and we also knew that we wanted to spend the rest of out lives with each other. After a while we decided we wanted to start a family, we started to pursue being referred for IVF via NHS lines, we then learned that the waiting list in Wales where we live is 2 years plus, the only other was to go private, so we started to look into it.

I started looking online and discovered something called egg sharing, basically you receive nearly free of charge IVF treatment in return for donating half of your eggs to someone who needs them, for me it was a bit of a no brainer, we get our IVF without the wait and I get to help someone who is in a similar position to us.

We started pursuing this in february 2013, we went to the clinic and had our first consultation, we then went on holiday to spain with my family for a week in march, I was meant to start my period before we went, but it never came, I put it down to stress and ignored it, it eventually came a week late, we flew home and the day after I returned to work, I started having pain, I instantly knew what it was, another ectopic, to make sure I went and did a test, it was positive, straight to A&E. I ended up in hospital again but this time I was treated with methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug, which made me very ill.

Due to having this drug I had to put off my IVF for 3 months, as you are not allowed to conceive due to its effects on your folate (folic acid) reserves.

As soon as we could we started our IVF, it was the hardest most draining thing I have ever done in my life, I also ended up with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which hospitalised me for a week and I will blog about sometime.

Every moment of pain and exhaustion was worth it when we found out we were pregnant, another one of the best days of my life.

Just wanted to give an overall view of our journey and I will blog more in depth about parts of it as time goes on.

Our baby as a 5 day old embryo before transfer:

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And here she is during a growth scan at 31 weeks pregnant:

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