Sunday, 7 August 2016

Quick update

Just a quick update to say I had another faint line yesterday on a test, and then heavy bleeding and a temp drop this morning, so it seems like a chemical pregnancy. Ah well. I know that God knows best. I definitely need to fix whatever is going on with my kidney stone (is it even one?!) and be pushy for some sort of diagnosis. It is really sore to wee today and my side aches. All my urine samples are clean and do not grow anything when cultured, so it's not an infection. I will call the doctor tomorrow, and it's kind of a relief to know I can get an X-ray if I can convince the doctor to get me one.

My bleeding is heavier so far than a normal period, but maybe "normal" is going to change anyway, now that I'm getting nearer to menopause.

Thanks so much for the comments, with the obvious exception of the person who is so twisted with bitter envy that they can't control themselves over typing unkindness in a comments box. I pity you, who ever you are. And it was deleted about 0.2 seconds after I clapped eyes on it. Editing 30 minutes after posting it to add: I just randomly came across a quote from someone on Facebook (about something completely different, and not to do with me), that made me think of this immediately, so I'm sharing it: "It used to bother me a lot but then I realized that people like that are just miserable people and their opinions do not matter anyway..." Truth. :)

I'll update again at some point, just because I want to keep track of my cycles and conception seems somewhat likely in the future. I really appreciate everyone who is supportive and loving towards me here! :) xxx

Friday, 5 August 2016

Rosie photo overload, although I meant to talk about something else...

I'm so sorry I didn't update after the last entry where I wondered if we had conceived!!! I can't believe I forgot to update! Of course you know that means I got my period, otherwise I would have been back here the very next day! ;) Thank you for the comments and messages, and I am just sorry it has taken me this long to update.

Rosie-Bo is now 7 months old - she turned 7 months last week. She is beginning to vaguely crawl backwards, and can scoot forwards a little if she is desperate for a toy that's almost within reach. She is vigorously fascinated (!!) about all things on floor level, and most things at table or sofa level too. She loves soft toys, especially Nathan's beloved Monkey - he delights in her squeals of excitement and limbs flapping away eagerly when he dances Monkey in front of her. No other soft toy has the same effect, and she just beams if he puts Monkey into her arms for her to hold for a minute. He takes Monkey right back if she starts trying to chew on his ears though! ;) She seems really fond of teddies and soft toys, so we'll have to try to find her a good "lovey" of her own.

She is finally starting to show interest in food! She was interested at 6 months, but when it came to actually putting food in her mouth, nope. She has her own little booster seat with a tray on it, and sits up to the table with all of us, in that. She eagerly looks round the table at everyone talking and eating, like she's been longing for this for months, bless her! We have given her cooked carrot slices - she was not impressed. Also banana - not thrilled. That was her first food, like all the others have had, but at 6.5 months, instead of on the day she turned 6 months. Here she is at her new booster chair, and a couple to illustrate her reaction to the banana - the happy face was the moment she had just dropped it on the floor, lol! :D

Then another time she had a roast potato and LOVED it! She ate most of the inside of it, and chewed on the tough outer part for ages. I didn't realise it, because it hasn't happened this early with any of my other babies, but she was cutting her first tooth! She got her first tooth at 6 months and almost 4 weeks, and then her second tooth (both bottom middles) a few days later at 7 months. My youngest to get a first tooth was Matthew (and Elijah, actually) at 7.5 months, so she's the earliest now! :)

Anyway, so potato = success! :) She has eaten roast potato since then too. Also the next time we had a roast chicken, I handed her some of the leg meat, and she was chewing and sucking on strips and fistfuls of that for the whole meal, lol! She ate quite a lot of it, which I was surprised to see. I really only expect them to go for tastes at this early stage - breastmilk is enough until 12 months, so I'm not aiming at filling up with food or anything. She also likes cucumber and if I cut them in sticks with one side "skin", she gnaws out all the soft part and "rounds off" the ends. :D Those are all the foods she's tried so far.

I have no idea what she weighs or measures. She hasn't been weighed in months and months, I can't even remember when! Her next baby check is probably around 8 or 9 months, so I should be getting an appointment through for that soon-ish, I guess. She is so roly-poly and chubby still! I will post a few photos that I took last week. She is YUMMY! :) I think I didn't post the ones I took of her a month ago yet, at 6 months, so I'll post those first, and THEN the delicious roly-poly ones! ;)

The day she turned 6 months old:

A family outing on a hot afternoon, trying to keep her out of the sunshine. She had some milky, we had some snuggles and chatted a bit, and then Elijah came and talked to her and made her giggle. She LOVES all of her siblings and lights up when she sees them! :)

Cute little outfit with a matching girly hairband at 6 months and 1 week! I am still loving having daughters SO MUCH!!! (love my boys fiercely too, just to say!)

Here are the roly-poly photos taken the day she turned 7 months old! :)

Love her so much!!! :D

Well, I actually didn't come here to talk so much about Rosie, as other things! Only I got side-tracked and accidentally posted a bunch of photos of my yummy girl instead! ;)

I have had a kidney stone - the second one I've ever had - bizarrely 5 years to the exact week since my last one! It started mid-July, and THANKFULLY never got as torturous as the last one. The GP was fairly useless (except for the prescribing of a lot of medication), and refused to send me for diagnostics, like X-ray or scan to actually see if there was a stone, and where it might be. I had the same symptoms as my last one started with - intermittent bladder pain and it hurt to wee pretty badly. I thought UTI last time, but apparently it's a typical symptom of a kidney stone, along with the others. So I ignored it, and it was only a few days later when I began getting sharp twinges in the soft part of my side that suddenly (horrifyingly!) I realised that I recognised them as a mild form of the same exact pain as when I had had a kidney stone. I needed to be ambulanced to hospital for pain relief last time, it got SO bad, but it has just been very bothersome sharpness this time. Also my kidney has become really achy and painful, I guess because it has backed up somewhat because of the stone blocking the way. Last time my kidney was completely obstructed for 3 weeks and urine had broken through all around it, yeurgh! It was indescribably painful, but this time much less so.

Anyway, I was super anxious, obviously. I kept going back to see the doctor and asking for an X-ray, but they wouldn't let me unless I was in more significant pain, and sent me home to drink plenty, take the pain meds and wait for it to pass. So I've been doing that, and I still haven't passed it! BUT the pain has been significantly less bothersome for the past week, at least. My kidney no longer aches at all. I read that once the stone gets really low, near the bladder, it seems to cause the least symptoms and the kidney isn't obstructed so badly, even though it's the most narrow part of the ureter (weird!), and it can sit there for some time before passing. I still have pain in my side on and off, and it still hurts to wee intermittently, sometimes a lot, so... I had blood in my urine a couple of times, which was the give-away for me that it was a stone, along with the other symptoms. 98% of stones cause blood in the urine, even just microscopically. Last time the bleeding was horrible, but this time less severe, which I'm grateful for!

ANYWAY, it seems like a crazy time for a pregnancy, but...

It's not like it was planned or anything. I feel a bit daft now, thinking of an unpassed stone and the fact that I can't get an X-ray if I might be pregnant. But we were just being... husband and wife, and since hitting my 40s, there has been a major shift towards... being husband and wife, um, more. NO IDEA where that has come from, but there we go. No missing the "fertile window" or anything, lol! Kidney stone be darned! ;)

So here I am at 8DPO after possibly conceiving last cycle, which lead to a longer-than-usual luteal phase of 7 days last time. The same thing happened at that cycle (the same number of months PP) after Elijah, leading to the same 7 day LP, and then the following cycle I conceived Lydia.

I have been super over-heated (like a radiating oven - Neil has noticed it just giving me a hug) since 4DPO. My temps are higher than last cycle in my LP, and they have been mostly flat except for a couple of spikes, which is another promising sign. I haven't felt much of anything in the first few days - not pregnant or otherwise. The last few days I have been INSANELY irritable, and Neil has been telling me I'm pregnant, especially with the radiating heat. He stroked my cheeks and said they were weirdly soft (my unique sign over all these pregnancies!) at 5DPO!!! Very early for that - it's really only from 8DPO that this usually happens for me.

I haven't had any of my usual pregnant "bad cramps" yet, although I have felt pretty crampy today, on and off. I do have my "pregnant" CM, and also the occasional unpleasant fluttery heart palpitations that I only get when I'm pregnant - happening right this second actually. I have been having vivid dreams most nights, which is very pregnant of me, and one of them was about Neil having had a child with someone else, a little girl about 3 years old with blonde hair. She was with us in our home though - very odd dream! The next morning (I think this was 7DPO, yesterday), I came downstairs to find the older children already up and busy, and literally the first thing Nathan (8) said to me was, "Mummy, if we DO have another baby, I don't think we should call it Charlie. It just doesn't go with our family names." I nearly stopped breathing!!! They never mention things like that, but on the other hand someone ALWAYS does (it's SO uncanny) when I'm in very early pregnancy, when they can't possibly know yet! So there's that. :)

And there's this, despite only being 8DPO:

I know it's SUPER faint, but it's there, isn't it?

If it's true... IF... (I just can't believe it!!!)... then this is the earliest I've got pregnant after a previous baby, I think. The baby would be due April 20th (FINALLY my April baby that I've always wanted, if you remember back when I was blogging about trying for a 3rd baby?!), when Rosalie would be 15 months old - my smallest age gap yet! Yikes.

It's way too surreal right now, and maybe it'll all be gone again tomorrow, so for now I am just going to go to bed (it's late) - I am crazy tired today, pregnant tired, if I'm honest, and I will temp and test again in the morning. I totally expected my temp to drop right down this morning, but when it didn't I thought I might as well take a test (at 8DPO, hahaha!) because I'm Crazy-Obsesso Woman after all! :D

Will definitely keep you posted! :)

Monday, 11 July 2016

Cycle update - 6 months postpartum! :)

Thank you all SO much for the lovely encouraging comments on my last post! I was so uplifted by them, and they made me think not to make my blog private over some horrid people and their comments. Thank you for the perspective! :) I really like my blog to be open anyway, so I'm glad to have felt comfortable with keeping it open for now. THANK YOU! <3 p="">
So Rosie-Posie is SIX months old!! Already! Half a whole year has passed since she was born. She is rocking on hands and knees now, and rolling over and over in both directions to get where she wants to go. I am obviously getting more slack now that I have had 8 babies, or else just more relaxed and wise (!!) because she hasn't had any food yet. Normally I whip out a half peeled banana on the day they turn 6 months old, and it has become a tradition, whether they want to start trying food yet or not! I don't offer food before the day they turn 6 months, and some of them have chosen not to be interested for another few weeks or even a few months after that first banana. I think Lydia and Elijah were both more like 8-9 months exclusively breastfed, so I am honestly not in a hurry with Rosie. On the day she turned 6 months, all the bananas were not quite ripe, so I waited. Then, having blinked briefly, locusts - ahem, *children* - must have descended on them because several bunches went within 48 hours. Fast-forward two weeks and I still haven't got around to The First Banana! I did order a new booster seat for her to sit at the table like a big girl (*sob-gasp*!), which arrived this morning, so if I ever have a ripe banana in the house which isn't being devoured, I will be able to make a big deal of her first food and take some photos! :) I'm expecting her to show interest, mostly reject it, and prefer milky for a while longer yet, and that's fine with me. :) She's sooooo chubby and squishy and yummy! I think she is my squishiest baby yet, which is saying something! Benjamin and Arthur were probably equally squishy, but she's my squishiest GIRL for sure! ;)

I haven't been charting because... I think I said last time I wrote here. I just didn't feel the need. Which, of course, only lasts until I have the urge to KNOW what's going on with my cycle a bit more closely. Last few cycles my luteal phase has been 3-4 days. Reeeally short. I haven't confirmed with temps, but I had ovulation pain and obvious fertile signs leading up to ovulation (and sudden cessation of said signs right after the ovulation pain), so I've charted those.

I had one cycle in there which was like 23 days long or something crazy. It made me straight away think of menopause... apparently cycles get shorter towards menopause, and it's one of the signs to look for. Hmmm... That was the cycle before this one. This cycle has been longer because I didn't ovulate until Cycle Day 28 (normal for me this soon after having a baby). Worst ovulation pain I ever had, for some reason. Because parsnips occurred in the obvious fertile time, it sort of triggered my memory to temp from the next day onwards, but not to check whether I might be pregnant, more to confirm when I ovulated and also to see exactly what was going on with my luteal phase.

So now here I am at 7 (seven!) days past ovulation. My temps have been flat (FLAT!!) - as in 36.4-something - for the last FIVE days straight! :-O I was bizarrely hormonally weepy at 2DPO, which is obviously too early for pregnancy symptoms, but which nonetheless occurs for me in many of my pregnancy cycles at specifically 2DPO, and sometimes 4DPO too. Yesterday and today I am craving Belgian buns. Like I woke up, came downstairs and opened the kitchen cupboard to start breakfast, and literally could only think of eating a Belgian bun IMMEIDATELY, which of course we didn't have. Today I wasn't overwhelmed with the thought of Belgian buns until mid-morning, when I actually ended up phoning Neil at work and asking him to please please bring me some home from work. ;)

Late last night I was minding my own business when out of the blue I had a sharp pinching pain in my lower back on my right side. After maybe 30 seconds it bored right through to my front over the right side of my pubic bone. That gave way to a general periody crampiness for an hour or so. I wondered if I was getting my period, but there was nothing when I went to check. Today I have had the same kind of discomfort on and off, but it feels more like one-sided period pain, and I would go so far as to call it "bad cramps" this afternoon. I went to resettle Rosalie when she woke too early during her nap, just maybe 30 minutes ago, and while I was lying in bed with her and breastfeeding, the discomfort I was already having increased until it was a sort of nauseating hot vice-like cramping, like actually having my period. I so hoped she would hurry back to sleep because I didn't like the idea of having my period and just lying there for ages before being able to go to the toilet and deal with it! At last she settled back to sleep and I hurried to the loo, to find absolutely no sign of my period. I still have the cramps. It was right sided (back and front) in bed, but it's settled to more general across the whole of my lower back and the pit of my abdomen now.

I lay there feeding her, thinking, "But I can't be!... I *can't* be pregnant already - she's only 6 months old!" The earliest I was pregnant before was when Elijah was 7 months old, but I checked my chart and I did have a chemical pregnancy the cycle before when he was 6 months old. I got a faint positive at 8DPO the day before my period showed up.

I totally expected nothing from the parsnips that occurred this cycle - didn't even give it a second thought, because as far as I recalled, I don't conceive at 6 months postpartum. I forgot that I did conceive before Elijah, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain a pregnancy at 6 months in any case.

But, 2 days in (I don't care what anyone says), I knew. The other things that are typical of my pregnancy cycles - the flat temps, the weepy day, the pinching pain at 6DPO and the cramping, especially today at 7DPO, only serve to convince me more, but none of them surprise me because I have that feeling in my knower, which is more sure and reliable every time, it seems, as I've been there and felt that more and more times.

I haven't mentioned it to Neil because a) he will totally not be expecting it and therefore *may* ever so slightly freak out, lol! ;) and b) I'm pretty sure it can't stick. Never had a sticky baby with previous cycles having such short luteal phases. :( Also, c) I don't know... I just like that it's a secret deep within only me, and nobody else can know unless I tell them. I won't get to keep it for long, so I'm indulgently enjoying and cherishing it while it lasts. I think I was only 3DPO when I talked to my tummy - I told myself "just in case it's true", so as to avoid the feeling of daftness that came over me, being only 3 days after ovulating with no actual proof of conception and a history for doing this whenever it feels like I've conceived. But, I'm right, just like I was right the other times. A mama knows. Well, this one does, anyway! ;) Talking to my little one and saying hello and I knew this hello would only last a few days, but that I was so glad that he or she had the chance to LIVE, and I would see him or her one day, eventually - I realised that, for me, that's another sign of my "knowing" that there's someone in there in the first place. I don't just talk to my tummy on random other cycles, in case pregnancy occurred! ;) I didn't sit and think about doing it before doing so - I was lying
and just realised I was doing it without thinking.

I didn't expect to get to 6DPO, let alone 7DPO, and I guess now that I've blogged about it, I pretty much guarantee myself a temp drop and a period tomorrow! ;) I am also beginning to be wary of bleeding that looks like a period - I have had that enough times at implantation to know that I shouldn't presume it a period until my temps agree in a *sustained* manner! With Elijah my temp dropped like a stone the day I started bleeding heavily (7dpo), and I stopped temping and felt sure it was a period. It wasn't! ;) So I temp until it stays down!

I ordered 2 packs of First Response Early Pregnancy Tests today, but they won't be here until probably Wednesday (the day after tomorrow, and thus 9DPO, which I can't fathom actually getting to, so I might not need to use them after all). When Rosie woke from her nap (I had to stop typing this to get her while the kids were playing in the garden, and am now back to finish off, an hour later), I carried her into the bathroom to rummage through the cabinet in search of pregnancy tests. I had boxes and such left over that I hadn't thrown out (tsk! So disorganised!), but I was delighted to see that one of the boxes has a FRER still unused inside, AND in date! Yay! So, at least I have that to use if I should want to, but I fully expect to get my period, maybe even tonight, or if not then at least a drop in temp to herald it in the morning.

It feels weird ordering pregnancy tests, like... almost like I feel guilty and like I want to do it as secretly as possible. I am surprised by my own response - I've realised that I have this bizarre expectation that it's All Change now I've hit my 40s - no more easy conceptions, no more babies, even - maybe? And I feel self-conscious about being pregnant in my 40s even though I totally disagree with my own brain on that one!! Such a weird feeling, lol! Being pregnant in one's 40s is a true blessing, and you're not to old to bear children until you're too old to bear children, in my opinion - by that I mean physically incapable of conceiving due to menopause. That's God's design right there, so before that point, it's all good as far as I'm concerned. But I guess society (darn society!!) has strong opinions and they seem to have filtered down into my subconscious. Otherwise there would be no reason for me to feel odd about being pregnant in my 40s.

Somewhere under the surface, I must have honestly thought that there would be some sort of switch going off as I turned from 39 to 40, haha! I don't know... I guess I did not expect to just carry on as usual once I turned 40! Not sure why not, now I think about it, and my body seems to be doing the same thing as it did at 37, 38 and 39, sooo....

Anyway, I'm sure I will get a period - my body surely can't sustain a pregnancy yet, but I also feel sure that I've conceived (slightly cringing because of the mockery I've had for always saying that - it's just that when I feel that way, however often it has happened, I'm always right!!! ;) ). So I will update tomorrow probably. I didn't want to miss blogging about any of my little ones, whether they stay with me or not, and also I had a private message about my chart, urging me to update my blog! ;) Thanks, sweet! :)

I'm just going to save this and not post it until I've been to the loo to be 100% sure that my period isn't starting, lol! I feel so paranoid now I've written this, and also have that feeling that I am starting my period. So far it hasn't been, it's always just CM. Incidentally, my usual "pregnant" CM. :)

Finally had chance to check (an hour later!), soooo sure I would see at least some spotting, but nope! :)

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Update on Rosie at 5 months old, and other stuff...

So, this was fun to read:

A real-life friend has started blogging for the first time, and I was about to encourage her saying that I have been blogging for a long time and found it a blessing, but then wondered how easily a real-life friend in the know might find my blog. So, all light-hearted, I googled my full name and the word "blog". Nada. Then I googled "Alice Neil blog" and found stuff, including the link above to a site I've never heard of, called "GOMI" which appears to stand for "Get Off My Internet" - in other words a place for gossiping and bitching about people who are on the internet, I assume. Ugh.

I started out with amused curiosity, but just, ugh. I have no idea how many total strangers are keeping up with my personal life whenever I post here, but it's not a nice feeling to see a bunch of total strangers discussing what they do or don't like about you (on a much deeper level than that - I'm generalising) in a forum. And knowing as I write this that some of YOU are them, and there are probably many more people not in that conversation who share their opinions and still read my blog with the fascination of a car wreck.

The worst thing is, even though I am very transparent and open in my writing, and so there shouldn't be much room for error - these people have a lot of stuff wrong bout pretty much everything they are talking about! If true, those things would be cause for concern, but it bothers me that apparently I have given these impressions here about my parenting, my kids, my motives, and my choices, so what if everyone thinks these things are true of me as well?!

There are a few, "She said..." about things I never did say (because they aren't even accurate!", and everyone is on about my choice to unschool, and then a ton of ignorance about the perils of unschooling. Do I really give the impression at my blogs that my kids run wild? We have never officially unschooled - been using curriculum from 2009 (Arthur was 4.5) until 2016, so I can't think what they're on about. We do unschool in part. So what? The neighbours never called social services - what the?! Uggghhhh.... I can't even be bothered to explain AGAIN about all the whys and wherefores, not that there's any need really, but yeah...

Also. I do not write much about my older kids because I do not have any time to blog. BUT, when a new life is in the works, a) YES, it is exciting, and b) I want ALL of my children to have had their pregnancies journalled. I write less and less each pregnancy, it seems, in terms of number of blog entries, because I can't find the time, but what I DO write, I have to FORCE time to do it. And I do it because I have a huge guilt-trip about needing to have the details blogged for memory's sake. I know I will forget it, and I don't want to. I don't want any of my kids growing up and wondering why there's nothing much to detail what my pregnancy was like with them, when there's a ton of detail about all their brothers' and sisters' pregnancies. So I do it. I love rejoicing in new life. It's so exciting that I have to share it. The time is squeezed out to get to write about family life and the older children's milestones. It's both infuriating and hilarious to me that people think I don't think much of my older children (and how sad it is that I only care much about them when they're little) based on the "evidence" that I don't mention them much in my blogs, only the little ones. Seriously, delusional people??

I am hurt by what I read, but I kind of laugh about it as well because oh how little people actually know of my life, my heart, my thoughts, my family. I thought because I blog really openly, that I'm like a book and readers must know me pretty well (weird and not always comfortable thought!). But I guess *I* know me really well, since I'm living the actual life of "me", and when I write I only write bits and pieces of my life, and because my brain knows the rest of it, I don't really think about the bits that are missed in my writing, or the effect the overall view might have as I have written it.

I write for me, not you. I love my children. I love all of them exactly the same, every age, both genders, all personalities and abilities and individual difficulties. They all know I love them dearly. None are struggling with abnormal issues or neglected in any way. We are not conventional in our schooling and we are not wildly social as a family. We do see other families, the kids do learn how to behave in public, and I am sad that I have in the past had a lot of flack for struggling with children who - as it turns out - are on the autistic spectrum, not just wild and out of control, and the result of me having too many kids to handle properly. Now that I have younger kids who do not have those same behaviour patterns, I am less self-depreciating over my ability to parent and do it well. Now that I have learned that not all children can learn on "schedule" - but guess what?! They DO learn eventually, just like the encouraging mamas assured me! - I am not so anxious about that.

Dear readers: I do not "care more about getting pregnant and being pregnant than the actual kid it creates". Has it not possibly occurred to you that I write about pregnancy to the extreme (and pretty much no other aspects of my life) because, ohhh, I don't know - this is a PREGNANCY journal? One that I started so that I could write about all things pregnancy, on purpose? And that I have an actual life outside of the blog?"! This is a snapshot of a part of my life. Would have thought that would be obvious, but whatever.

Also, what the heck about not having sex for 2 years due to vaginismus at the beginning of our marriage?!?!! Where do these people get this stuff?!! Housebound with M.E. people. Chronic fatiiiiigue. Get your facts straight, they make a difference.

If your husband calls me "mad Alice", stop reading my blog. I mean actually just go away.

I'm SO READY for making my blogs password-protected now. Never wanted that before, because I like people to be able to find me and read about the joys of things I hold dear. Also I have a lot of sweet readers who I don't know, but would not be able to give them a password to read because apparently who can be trusted with my vulnerability? Ugh.

In other news, I'm so sorry I haven't updated since Rosie was born. This must be good evidence that I don't care for her as much as my other babies because I used to blog about *their* early months, hey? Poor little neglected baby.

She is darling, smiley, contented and lovely. She is 5 months and almost-three weeks old, breastfeeding as I type this, rolling and laughing and delighting in all her siblings all day long. She is my rolliest, chubbiest baby with the best cheeks ever, and dark hair growing in beautifully. She started sitting without support this week, three day after Matthew's 10th birthday.

We are all doing well - kids are happy and growing like crazy, loving our not-so-new home and enjoying their own interests and each other. Neil has a long commute and is tired, and I hate that for him. He's so involved and helpful all the same and I love him. I am healthier, I think, than I was after Elijah and Lydia. No anxiety breakdown this time (so very grateful!), and my hormones feel way better balanced than they have after the last THREE babies before Rosalie. I don't know why, but who cares! ;) My periods came back at 3 months and I have just finished my 3rd so far. I am not charting, not temping, very aware of when I ovulate (super obvious signs leading up to it + pain on the day) and vaguely aware that only a few days pass from ovulation to period. I am busy enjoying my life, enjoying my children, doing the mummy thing, soaking up my babies at their fleeting precious stages, and enjoying my husband. ;) I turned 40 in February and for the first time I have no expectations or hopes or plans. Sometimes I hope for more babies yet. But I no longer plan on it, and I no longer expect it. In a way, I am MAYBE expecting my cycles to even out to normal again and to possibly conceive again. I know the risk of miscarriage goes WAY up after the age of 40 and I have no plans in mind of how anything will be from now on. So far I could have potentially conceived a couple of times, but with the short luteal phase I wouldn't get pregnant anyway, and I'm not expecting that to change any time soon.

Breastfeeding is going great. Elijah self-weaned when Rosalie was born, though he has asked twice since to try (once just today, actually, totally out of the blue!) and I have let him. He turned 4 last month. Three of his brothers were older when they self-weaned though. :) Lydia still nurses as often as I'll let her during the day, and not at all at night, ever. Rosie nurses on demand, day and night and I'm sure she will do for some time to come. I am loving it.

I can't think of what else. I wish I had time to update regularly, and post a ton of photos, but life is more important, you know? *sigh* A blog is a very narrow view of what I am actually like as a person. If you take it as the full picture, that's pretty narrow-minded. Ironically what they called me.

Anyway. Here is Rosalie at 3 weeks old. :)



At 2 months old - Arthur was holding her and she was fussing, and this is what happened! So precious! They all love her so much. :) (eta: He is not making that face because he is a) unhappy, b) unloved, c) overwhelmed with the burden of too many siblings. He was making his stillest face while wanting to be looking at the camera (his chin was resting on her head when I arrived with the camera) so that he didn't risk waking her. He would laugh and roll his eyes  if you suggested to him that he has too many siblings, and by the way my eldest children are already hoping "so very much" for another baby, "hopefully a girl" and according to Matthew, "hopefully TWINS!!". Not neglected.)
Rosie at 3 months old - her hair did not fall out! Only the girls have done this - all 6 of my boys lost their newborn hair, isn't that odd?!
My little girls - Lydia at 2.5 and Rosie at 4 months old. Lydia had chosen both their outfits herself from their drawers and been totally insistent on them! She did a great job! :)
This photo was taken a couple of days ago, of Rosie sitting unsupported for the first time (5.5 months):
And finally, here's a photo that I took of us on one of our family outings last month, at the woods. We rounded a bend and the pathway and the light looked so beautiful that I insisted everyone set up for a quick photo! I set the camera timer and put it on the front of the pushchair, and took one shot, and this is it. :) All my loves together. I love it so much.
I don't know when I'll be back, and I may yet make this a private blog. I'm too tired to think about it for now. Thanks so very much for all the lovely comments asking how we're doing, and I'm sorry it has taken this long for any sort of an update. You are lovely! xxx

Friday, 1 January 2016

Baby news before 2016! :)

I'm so sorry to be such a long time in updating. I had a new post open that I was typing bits into for the last THREE days, because I know me, and if I just post a quick thing then I'll NEVER get around to the details that I wished I could have posted, and I didn't want that. But it looks like I am just not getting around to it quick enough and everyone is waiting for news, so I will have to do the quick news update and hope I eventually manage the details! :/

Rosalie is here! :) She was born something like 19 hours after my last update, wondering if my waters had broken! Everything went fine, and she was born at home, in my bed, at 10.40pm on December 28th. She had a really short cord (just like Lydia!) so I couldn't pull her right up onto my tummy and chest to hold her after she was born, I had to just hold her around hip level, but it was fine. The first thing I noticed was her cheeks! She had such chubby cheeks for a 39 weeker! They didn't measure her length, but mentioned she looked quite short in length, just really chubby for such a little baby! :)

She weighed 8lbs 1oz!! The same as Arthur (he had an extra half ounce on her though)! At 39 weeks! They are going by my scan dates (mine are more accurate as I know when I ovulated), so she is officially down as born at 38 weeks and 6 days - really surreal to consider, for me, since I "only" go into labour and give birth after my due date! :)

She has chubbier cheeks, but she looks to me EVER SO like Matthew (and Samuel, who also looks most like Matthew - he had the newborn cheeks that she has, but he was 9lb 9oz!). I love this because I haven't had a Matthew/Samuel-looking baby in 5 years, and also I feel vindicated because I KNEW we had a pattern going, lol! ;) I find it fascinating and almost unbelievable how this pattern is playing out predictably with every baby we have! There is no reason why it would, but it is! After Lydia (who was an Arthur/Benjamin pattern, right on schedule), the next baby "should" have been a Matthew/Samuel pattern. The only thing that threw me was the bleeding in the first trimester, which was a Nathan/Elijah thing to happen. Also Matthew and Samuel were my 41 weekers, which I expected this baby to be as well, but she has made herself a first and broken all patterns! :P BUT she definitely is like Matthew and Samuel, just exactly as predicted. Amazing! :)

She is 3 days old on this New Year's Day (will turn 4 days old this evening), and doing fine. I need to write more about how she has been and all about the birth, but I can't write any more just now, and I am honestly not sure when I will get to it. :/ That's why I wanted to wait until I'd finally written a whole big post about it all, so that I knew it would get done, but it was just taking too long.

Here are some pics of Rosalie meeting her siblings (they were thrilled to meet her when they got up the next morning!), and then a couple from the next day or two. I am so so pleased with my sweet new baby girl! She's perfectly precious! I will write more when I can...




These two are from the next day - about 36 hours old. :) Her cheeks make her look bigger than she is in photos, so I put my hand there to show how teeny she really is! I took one of Samuel at a similar age just before Christmas 2010, where he looks very similar to her in the second photo, just more swelling in his face from the birth. :)


This last one is from the same day, just a few hours later. I was burping her after a feed, leaning her chin onto my hand to prop her up, and I looked down and saw her sweet sleeping face and could not get over her CHEEKS, lol! So here's a memory record of that! :)

Here we are last night as the midnight struck and fireworks went off outside our windows. :) Love that I am here breastfeeding a newborn baby, when I thought 2015 would be all about gestating and it was 2016 that we'd be looking forward to meeting her in! :) So happy she's here in my arms!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Update on the post I wrote 3 hours ago!

So I just wrote a big post a few hours ago before going to bed, about how I'm 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and I never have a baby before my due date, etc. etc. And then I went to shut the laptop down to go to bed, and leaked some fluid! And then it happened again! I thought maybe I should have been for a wee earlier (lol!) so I went  to the loo, only to find LOTS of clear fluid which was completely pink stained!!!

Waaaay too much adrenaline kicked in and I became really anxious about what lay ahead, and being on my own to do it all. Everyone was asleep, and I didn't know what to do. No contractions other than random very uncomfy Braxton Hicks. When I wiped, there was a cm or 2 sized piece of mucus plug with pink fluid. Wiped again and had pink streaked "goop", which has continued to be there every time I have wiped over the last few hours since then. Fluid seemed to clear up and not return, but I texted my midwife and she came over.

Baby sounds fine - now 3/5 palpable so more engaged than on the 23rd. She is very wiggly and seems to be twisting and shifting - good sign that she's getting in position for something! ;) Her heart rate was great, and all my vitals were fine too, except for a bit of blood in my urine (not surprising if I'm losing blood-stained plug). I did a GBS swab which the midwife is taking to the hospital lab tonight so it will be ready in 24 hours for a result. In the morning I am to go to labour ward for a swab for amniotic fluid again, and if it's positive they will offer me induction on the spot, OR to go home and wait for 24 hours (which I will obviously choose). This hospital's policy is to wait 24 hours and then induce if no labour, but I have done 48 before with Elijah and thankfully gone into labour right at the 48 hour mark! I wouldn't want to wait longer (or maybe even that long...) this time though. If I am contracting by the morning then no labour ward, just midwife over here and have a baby. :)

It might have just been adrenaline, but my bowels got kind of aggravated so I had to go to the loo a couple of times - that can also be a good sign of impending labour, but we'll see.

ANYWAY, after the midwife left, I was updating various places where people are praying for me over about 20 minutes, and during that time I had 3 contractions - mostly the same old strong BH type feeling, but the 2nd one lasted longer (about 50 seconds rather than the usual 20-30 seconds), and during the 3rd one I had a sudden "welling up" of fluid - sorry for the descriptive detail! ;) So my pad is officially properly wet and it's NOT urine, and I'm actually excited about it! :D I have continued to have the odd contraction since then, so I'm hopeful that labour isn't too far away. I am dumbfounded that it's happening in my 38th week though!!! :-O Never fathomed such a thing, lol!

So I am going to bed now, and hoping for some good sleep before morning. It's almost 4am. If I start having contractions that feel like "the real deal", even just a few in a row, my midwife said to call her and she'll come straight over. If I have ONE that's a doozy, I have to do the same! ;) She said no messing about, it's my 8th baby, lol!

So Rosalie may be coming tomorrow! December 28th - phewee, so close to Christmas! One right before and one right after! If my waters have indeed broken (and honestly I can't imagine the test would be negative, it seems pretty obvious to me right now), but I DON'T go into labour, then she will be here before January for sure, all the same. December 29th I would think, at the latest. Such a surreal thought!

Neil has been up with me while the midwife was here, and he went a bit frantic putting the dishwasher on and a laundry load (he gets really embarrassed about mess with people coming round), but he has gone back to bed. He wants to "totally blitz" the house tomorrow getting it tidy for "company" (sigh) but I have hopefully made it really clear that my absolute priority for him to do for me tomorrow is to get the newborn baby girl clothes out of the garage and WASH THEM ALL!!! I have one sleepsuit that I bought at eBay recently, that is washed and on my bedroom floor in a pile to put away, so thankfully if she comes before her clothes can be washed, at least she has *something* to wear, lol! And I finally got around to buying newborn nappies, maternity pads, breast pads, etc. etc. 2 days before Christmas. But I haven't packed a bag. And I will not really relax until I know her clothes are washed and dried ready for her, so I hope Neil will be okay with doing that first thing rather than random housework.

Just had to update, in case things happen! Will update again when I can. For now, my focus is sleep.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

38 weeks and 6 days!

I'm still here!! So sorry for the long silence! Just crazy busy with Christmas coming up, and Samuel's 5th (!!!) birthday a few days before that. Everyone caught a cold that Neil brought home from the office right before Samuel's birthday and of course I am the last to get it - on Christmas Eve. I have been down and out since Christmas Day feeling grim, but apart from still having no voice, I am doing better since this afternoon. :)

So much to say, but no time! I am tired out, and it's nearly 11pm. I am trying to listen to my body more and rest, but I'm not very good at it!

I have had 2 scans since I last updated - one at 34 weeks because my routine midwife appointment gave the midwife concern that maybe Rosalie was on the small side, as my bump measured 33 weeks (really not something that concerned me at ALL, but they seem a bit paranoid here about my baby's growth, so hey ho). I went in the next day, and she was fine - measuring pretty much spot on. They estimated her weight as 5lbs 1.5oz at 34 weeks. Her tummy was the biggest for dates, and her little leggies shorter than her dates, bless her! :) I do have some children with my short legs, so it looks like Rosalie is another of them! :)

Then I had my 38 week appointment (all of these are at home, as I am under the homebirth team and they only do things at home, yay!), and everything was fine, my bump measured 38 weeks, and the baby was 4/5 palpable (starting to engage, which is good/unusual for an 8th baby), but she couldn't be 100% sure that she was head down. Because she didn't want me to go into labour and THEN have a query over the baby's presentation, she sent me for a scan on Christmas Eve, late in the afternoon. Neil worked from home, thankfully, so I could go, and honestly I think it was just about God providing me with my hubby close to home on Christmas Eve, without a 2 hour drive back! I was already stressing about the chaos of organising overly excited children for some nice Christmas Eve traditions and stockings and all that, without Neil home from work yet! But, because he worked from home and they let everyone off at 2pm, it was as though he had the day off by the time that time of day rolled around! :) Slightly frustrating to have to be away at the hospital having a scan close to stocking-hanging time, but never mind!

Of course she is head down. :) Her tummy is the biggest-for-dates measurement as before, measuring 39 weeks! :) Her leggies measure 37 weeks, and her head, which was 35 weeks last time (at 34 weeks gestation) measured 36 weeks this time... They wanted to double check, but it was the same, and they said everything was fine... I hope it is! :/ They estimated her weight on Christmas Eve as 6lbs 9oz, which is lovely! :) Now I hope she won't take until 41 weeks to arrive (which she very well could), because I would love her to be 7.5lbs or less! I love teensy babies, and she has some sweet little hand-me-downs from Lydia that she won't fit if she's over 8lbs! ;)

I have gained a LOT of weight this pregnancy! More like my earlier ones. I now weigh 12 stone 5lbs, which is something like exactly 4 stone from my pre-pregnancy weight (I *think* I was 8 stone 5lbs, but I can't remember if I was 8 stone 7lbs... I think it was 5...). That's 56lbs, people!!!!! That's what I gained with my first two or 3 pregnancies, and at least one other (Samuel??). I didn't gain as much with Elijah or Lydia, but I was at my lowest pre-pregnancy weight before this baby, and frankly I don't think 8 stone and 5lbs was good on me. I need to be a bit heavier, but I had health issues and lost too much weight, in my opinion. So maybe I needed to gain more this time? I hope I don't lose too much too fast again after this baby. I look and feel better when I am between 8.5 and 9 stone, I think. So yeah, big weight gain this time! ;) I don't caaaaaare! :D It's all in a good cause and it'll fall off. Not straight away, but most definitely after a while, and then I can't stop it once it starts, even when I want to. Right now the down side is feeling very huffy and weighty when getting about. My thighs are huge, and I have more chins than I used to have! :P Getting upstairs is pretty exhausting, but other than all that I really don't care one bit about how much weight I've gained. It's great for my upcoming milk supply! :)

My haemoglobin levels are fine, and have remained fine at various checks, but my iron stores (ferritin) were low when I asked them to check at 28 weeks - at 14. I got my results back at 34 weeks from the re-check, that they had DROPPED to 10!! :( That was a bummer because I had been supplementing with Floradix, so I couldn't understand why they had gone down. It explains my exhaustion and ringing ears, dizziness, and breathlessness that I'd been putting down to "just pregnancy". Also I learned that I probably have had very low iron stores for many years, with back to back pregnancies and bleeds and so on. I was put on proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) for 2 years for GERD, which I took myself off last year, when I was feeling so unwell all the time. I haven't had GERD trouble since really, but since then I have learned how much those drugs mess you up! They prevent iron absorption (amongst many other things), so I probably have not been able to absorb whatever iron I was getting in my diet anyway, along with many reasons that my iron stores were being depleted as well. I hope that now I'm off the PPIs that I'm absorbing iron again, but I'm not so encouraged by the drop in my ferritin levels even with natural supplements... The baby is taking more iron from me than ever before in my 3rd trimester, so it could just be that what I'm getting is going straight to the baby and then some, at the moment. The doctor wanted to put me on iron tablets, but my bowel and general digestive tract is not a cheerful part of my body at any time (!!) and the side effects from those tablets can be horrible. I decided not to take them. If I was anaemic with low haemoglobin, I would take them and hope it didn't do a number on my bowel, but since I'm not, I decided to double my Floradix AND take a double dose of Spatone daily, which is something I haven't tried before. It's spring water with a very high natural iron level. The only thing is, I have been really poor at remembering to take it since I started! :/ So it hasn't been consistent at all. I am trying to eat red meat 3-4 times a week minimum, and not take calcium with it, make sure I have vitamin C with it, etc. I'm hoping it's coming up, but I will keep taking as much iron as I can naturally well beyond the birth, so hopefully it'll rise if it hasn't already. I think the midwife will test my blood again before I'm discharged, maybe even before Rosalie is born... So we'll see. My Vitamin D levels were great though! :) First time in years for that, so yay! :)

The week before Christmas, I had some crazy strong Braxton Hicks contractions that were very regular, every 5 minutes for a couple of hours, and many of them painful. The ones that weren't were unpleasantly tight and very distracting. I didn't want the children around me, and it reminded me all too much of the start of Lydia's labour. It was late in the day so Neil was home part-way through, so at least that wasn't a stress. Eventually I decided that no way was I ready to have a baby yet (Samuel's birthday was like two days away, lol!) with so much to do, so I got stuck into the bedtime routine with the children, and the contractions gradually faded out, thankfully! I SO did not want to have a baby before Christmas! Especially right on top of Samuel's birthday. His birthday has been so stressful to prepare, AGAIN - every year it is. I don't seem to cope too well with a birthday so close to Christmas, and the thought of adding another one was suddenly overwhelming! I'm SO relieved to have both his birthday and Christmas out of the way at last. I don't want Rosalie to arrive too close AFTER Christmas either, because I think it's going to be nicer for her to have a birthday that's separated from Christmas a bit. I am hoping to go to my due date or a day or so later, but then NO FURTHER, lol! Because Nathan's birthday is Jan 12th and I like my sanity gaps between preparing big family events! ;)

Since that contract-y evening, I have had some evenings of very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing as regular as that first one. I also thought I was getting a dental abscess after 3 days of a really sore gum at the back, which developed like a blister-type-thing on top on Samuel's birthday (the 21st). So the next day I went to the dentist and he said no abscess. :) It's much better now, so I guess it was just gum irritation like he said. After my appointment I went into town to do some last minute Christmas shopping, which I would otherwise NEVER get the chance to do alone. People stared at me everywhere I went, lol! I guess I am looking VERY pregnant now! ;) My bump is big, and also very low (like I usually carry). I must have looked ready to give birth right then and there in the shopping mall! ;)

Anyway, not being used to walking for any extended period of time, I pretty much had contractions and back pain for the rest of the day. Also Rosalie was SO quiet, I was getting nervous. I hardly felt her move at all, and when I poked her knee, she at least responded but it was just to lift it up slightly and then put it back again. After a whole afternoon, I was about ready to call the midwife. I had already tried orange juice and lying down, and so on. All of a sudden she seemed to wake up and move more normally, so I don't know what that was about. My midwife came the next day anyway and she was fine and wiggly then, with some hiccups too, and fine again at the scan, so... She has been quiet this morning, making me nervous, but wiggly and active ever since. She seems to be completely out of space in there right now. All her movements are squirms or slight part-way stretches of one leg, etc. She really doesn't move vigorously at all like she used to, and it makes me so nervous! I have counted the times she's moved since I got up this morning and so far she had 10 different sessions of movements, so I guess she's fine and I need to stop getting frantic about it!

I lost a little bit of mucus plug the day after my Braxton Hicksy evening, nothing since then until this morning I had a tiny bit more when I wiped. NOT blood-stained so it doesn't really mean a lot, other than my cervix is maybe possibly thinning out a little bit. The midwife said with all the contractions I've been having, and it being my 8th baby, I am to text her the MINUTE I think it's the real deal, lol! She lives in the next road and will be right over! ;) The only thing is, my midwife only works 3 days a week, and even then she is going on annual leave from right before my due date to 6 days AFTER my due date! :( I am sure she won't be around when I do go into labour, and I don't know anyone else from the midwife team! I won't have Heather with me. :( She is finally starting to feel better since the week before Christmas but she has made it clear that she can't be a doula for me this time. I am so sad and anxious about it, but I can't really tell her that. I have asked my best friend from school to come and hold my hand. I haven't seen her since Arthur was a baby, and before that, not for close to a decade, so we haven't really kept in touch much outside of Facebook. BUT she was always the most steadying influence for me, especially with my tendencies to be anxious about everything. She hasn't had children and has never been at a birth, and is worried that she won't be any use, but I know my body and my labours, and I told her I just need someone WITH me, to hold my hand through the hard contractions, etc. Neil will be doing the childcare, or could be needed at any moment, so I need someone like a doula who will be 100% dedicated to being by my side at all times, just so I have that security to look forward to. If I have to go into hospital, then I would want someone with me, and it wouldn't be Neil because he would have to stay home with the kids. I wish SO MUCH that Heather could be okay and come to be with me... My friend Katy lives just over an hour away from me by car, and she said she is on annual leave from my due date for a week, which is perfect really. She's willing, although she would need 2 hours notice to get to me, and I hope that I would have enough time... I tend to be in denial for AGES in early labour, that I'm actually IN labour, so would have a hard time deciding to call her until I was sure, and by then I think 2 hours might be too long....

Anyway. I am praying it all goes smoothly. I am getting nervy about the actual process of getting Rosalie into my arms! It's so hard to bear the hard stage of labour and the actual pushing stage is overwhelming, but OH SO WORTH IT!!! I can't WAIT to hold her and have her actually here in my arms at last, but I'm apprehensive, shall we say, about the slight hurdle of getting her here! ;)

Okay, I absolutely have to go to bed! I tend to do better at updating here in the last days of my pregnancies, so hopefully I'll update again much much sooner. I am 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow (only 8 days to go, today!!!) and it's absolutely surreal to have arrived at the very end of my pregnancy already! So blessed to be ripe with child, with a lovely round tummy and a wiggly new life on the inside, and I know that maybe this is my last chance to experience it. I am not in a hurry to get any of this wonderous privilege over with, even though I am looking forward to meeting my baby girl so very much. It's such a blessing, and really way too fleeting!