Saturday, 20 December 2014

Hormones! :)

Thanks so much for the lovely comments and prayers, I really appreciate each of them!

I am just updating to say that my blood test results had a note with them that said, "All satisfactory", so I am guessing that my hormone levels are normal, and nothing else is worrisome, which is a relief! I am going to talk to the doctor about it next week to find out the exact numbers. I got my scan appointment for January 7th. It's a transabdominal scan of my pelvis, so I have to drink a litre of water before I go in. I'm so hoping it's either all clear, or a harmless cyst.

I'm also encouraged by a couple of other things - firstly, I have had a REALLY bad back the last couple of days. The pain has kept me awake at night and radiated around my side and front. It burned like classic muscle spasm, and I don't think cysts cause muscle spasm, so that's something. At the same time I had HORRIBLE IBS yesterday - soooo much pain and wind and bloating. I couldn't eat during the evening until it eased off, and when it did, I realised how familiar it was as the IBS I used to get sometimes, particularly when I was in a change-of-hormones time, like early pregnancy (I took another test the other day, by the way, just in case - definitely negative! I'm so sad my tests are reaching their expiry dates! :( ) or in my cycle somewhere (before a period sometimes).

Ironically, the day after I wrote the last entry here, all worried that it was nearly a year since I'd had a period, I had a temperature rise on waking! Not huge, but definitely into my post-ovulatory range (this range NEVER changes, for me - anywhere below 36.3 or so is pre-ovulatory, anything above is post-ovulatory, unless I'm temping after a lie-in, and then it's always higher than it should be). It was 36.39. Next morning (yesterday), up a bit more to 36.49! Also AT LAST the incessant EWCM has eased off!! So I was hopeful that maybe I actually ovulated the day I wrote here last. This morning I was so excited and nervous before taking my temperature - easily as much as if I was in the 2WW, hoping to be pregnant, lol! I was thrilled to get 36.68!!! And 3 days running means I got confirmation of ovulation on my chart, yaaaaaay!!! I ovulated!!! :D

This is SO reassuring to me. I know there's no way to be sure I'll get another period, or if I do, in the near future. I don't know if I'll ever be fertile enough to have another baby. I can't tell you how much I hope I WILL be! I really thought my time was up these last few weeks, and to be honest I was having a hard time coming to terms with it. Anyway, for now, I am feeling more confident that I am dealing with a back injury + bad IBS, re. the pain. I hope... I am putting ice on my back many times a day as my chiropractor once told me to, and laying as low as I can with 7 children to look after, Christmas around the corner, and Samuel's 4th (FOURTH!!!) birthday to get ready for tomorrow! :P And now I'm waiting for a period! :) Never thought I would be so happy to say that, lol! I'm intrigued to find out what is going on with my body - no idea how long my luteal phase will be, as this timing is a first for me. I'm also slightly apprehensive about the actual period, because I keep hearing that a first period in a LONG time, especially following weeks of attempts to ovulate, can be extremely heavy and hard to manage. Sounds fun for Christmas! ;) Hope I get past Christmas before it turns up though.

I am excited to think mayyyybe I'm returning to normal with my cycles? Maybe? And looking forward to charting actual things happening in my cycles again! ;) I'll update again soon - thanks so much for praying for me. Please remember me on Jan 7th for my scan!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Anxieties...

So Lydia will be 14 months old next week, and I still have no periods. I have crazy quantities of EWCM, nearly every day for at least 3 weeks now, but no ovulation. I'm still temping every morning and my temps are very stable, but low and pre-ovulatory.

I know I have anxiety issues, but lately I am getting very scared about something. I have a lot of symptoms that can be due to ovarian cancer, and it's scaring the diddly out of me. :/ The periods thing isn't normal, but hey, I've let that one slide because who knows, I could possibly be pre or peri-menopausal? Or just wacky hormones? Or because of the rapid weight loss (another dodgy potential cancer symptom I had earlier this year)? COULD be within the range of normal, easily - still breastfeeding at 14 months PP. But I *know* it's not normal for me, whatever the reason for it...

I have had gastro issues all year. I've mentioned them here before, but basically gastritis, crazy horrible nausea and bloating which have all been persistant, though not constant throughout the whole year. For months, at the beginning of the year, they were constant and I went to the doctor sooo many times, and was referred to a gastroenterologist who couldn't feel anything wrong and by my symptoms he suggested my trouble might be chronic slow-transit constipation. Laxatives that he prescribed made me ill (dizzy, faint, shaky, nauseated, exhausted, etc.) so I didn't continue with those. I have had IBS for EVER, the constipation type, so I'm used to living with constipation. The gastric symptoms haven't been nearly so bad in the last 4 or 5 months, but they occur still once a week or two - sometimes I'm kept up at night feeling sick or with stomach pain and bloating. It MUST be better than it was earlier in the year because I find myself trying to think if it's as bad, or what "that bad" used to feel like, for comparison.

Lately I'm feeling bloated and gassy and yucky again. Not so much with the upper stomach and nausea, which I'm glad about (that was horrible!), but very constipated and uncomfortable. Not way out of my norm (more constipated than I'm used to though), but with other symptoms, it's a potential ovarian cancer symptom.

I hurt my back when we moved here, and had to see a chiropractor. It got much better, and then a few weeks ago - maybe 4? I hurt it again, or rather, it started hurting again in a similar place. I had to ice it like I did when I was seeing the chiropractor, and then it started to improve a little bit. I forgot to continue with the ice and never really kicked the back pain, but it was manageable. About 3 or 4 days into the back pain, I started getting a sharp, deep pain in my right side, between my hip and rib cage, right in the soft tissue. I've had it before, but I can't put my finger on when - this year I think? And maybe even occasionally before that? I thought maybe it was part of the back pain issue, like a pulled muscle or referred pain from an injury somewhere else. Maybe it is? I have had that same pain every single day, all day long, ever since. Three weeks at least. It is much worse now, and distracts me from doing things with my children, and housework. It doesn't prevent me but it hurts such a lot. It's SORT OF like muscle pain, but I feel like it's coming from somewhere deeper, or somewhere else. I got very anxious about it being a referral pain from some organ or other, and more so as it has become worse. I can't push on it and give myself pain - no muscles seem tender, and I can't find a place to aggravate it in my side anywhere... :/

About a week ago I started getting more constipated, and also began to get distractingly painful pelvic pain, low in my front and also in my lower back. Not crampy like from my uterus, not like period pain. I wondered (without feeling convinced) for a while if maybe I was just building up for a crazy ovulation (?!) or something. Maybe I had ovulation pain? I had tons of EWCM (the constancy and amount of it isn't normal for me either, without ovulation following, for this long), so that supported the ovulation pain idea. But morning after morning (after morning) I kept having low temps - no ovulation.

At the same time my lower abdomen started to be bloated most of the time. Like 16-20 weeks pregnant, bloated. I don't know - I put that down to constipation, *maybe*... or again *maybe* it was hormonal? Just this past week, but still... It does go down sometimes, but I can't find anything to say that means it ISN'T ovarian cancer. Bloating is an ovarian cancer symptom.

One symptom I don't have is needing to wee frequently or urgently, so that is reassuring, but then I didn't get much of that early in pregnancy when it was a typical early pregnancy symptom either... Sometimes, though.

This week, I am in a lot of pain in my side and my central and lower abdomen. My little children are typically clambering and pushing on my tummy a lot as they cuddle or breastfeed, and I absolutely cannot tolerate it at all. I flinch if they get near my tummy and clench my muscles involuntarily to protect myself. If I push anywhere along my bikini line, I get a sharp pain, and the same anywhere below my tummy button, but central (not to either side). Something is definitely up - I hope so much that it's something harmless and temporary, but I'm really scared that it's not.

On Friday it was so painful and I became so scared about it that I called Neil and asked him to arrange to work from home on Monday so I could go to the doctor. It wasn't easy waiting through the weekend and hurting, and wondering why. I was so nervous by the time I saw the doctor on Monday. He agreed that I need some tests done - I did a urine sample, and was sent to the hospital for blood tests - they took 6 tubes! The receptionist said, "Ooh, they want a lot from you, don't they?!" - helpful! :/ While I waited in the waiting room, I felt sick and faint and the pain in my side became almost kidney-stone-like - sharp and spasmy. I wondered if it was a kidney stone, since I have a history, but it doesn't seem the same to me. The sick and faint thing might have easily been anxiety for me - I was pretty anxious there... Anyway, I looked at the form while I was waiting and saw that they're testing all my hormone levels for ? peri-menopause. :( I hope it's not that! I don't feel ready yet! But I'd rather that than something potentially terminal... Also they're doing a full blood count and so on. And inflammatory factors, and things like that. I didn't see any reference to the CA 125 blood test - the tumour marker for ovarian cancer, which I had done in the spring. It was normal in the spring so I thought, "Phew! At least it's not that!" but I've since read that in the early stages most women have a normal result on that test, and it's best to repeat it if symptoms persist. *gulp* I wish I'd thought to ask them to do that test too...

The doctor felt my tummy which was very painful, and commented that I did seem to be in a lot of pain in my pelvic area and mid-line higher up. He didn't say anything about feeling lumps or bumps, or even encourage me by saying he could tell I was constipated! ;) He said I need to get an ultrasound scan to check for "anything ovarian, going on". I told him I was concerned about something to do with my ovaries at the start. At the end he said it shouldn't take long to get my results (Thurs or Fri this week for the bloods and urine), and I have to phone to make my own scan appointment any time from Thursday this week (tomorrow) - I asked if it would be a long wait for an appointment and he said no. So I don't know what that means, but I'm not sure if it will be before the New Year. :/

At the end of my appointment I said, "I'm quite anxious... Is there anything that I need to be worried about?" And he said that based on my current symptoms, he didn't think so, and that we'd get the tests done and go from there. I felt better for hearing that, but... being an anxious person and having time to think about it since then... doctors say that kind of thing, don't they? Urgh.

I'm googling like crazy to try to find something that will tell me SOMETHING in my list of symptoms will rule out the likelihood of ovarian cancer. I know it's rare under the age of 40, but I'm reading an AWFUL lot of stories of much younger women than me, with ovarian cancer. It happens. And I'm nearly 39. Not that far under 40. Ovarian cancer isn't usually discovered until it has become advanced, because the symptoms are vague or non-existant until then. So it doesn't have a great survival rate once discovered. Totally scared out of my brains. I needed a place to vent all my thoughts and anxieties, and to list out my physical symptoms, and I can't do that anywhere but here really. I have to wait, and waiting is really hard when I'm constantly distracted by pain and can't help but think what it means.

I do not have any issues with feeling too full to eat proper portions - that's another thing in my favour! :) But I do have nausea and feelings of bloated yuckiness between meals sometimes. That could be just my IBS or stress-related gastric issues, I guess. It all COULD be just this or that which I'm already dealing with. But I don't want those issues to be masking something dangerous - just because I have IBS, GERD, a history of kidney stones, major stress levels, and an anxiety disorder, if I had cancer somewhere in my abdomen causing me symptoms, that would still be somewhat masked by my other "stuff", but shouldn't be just fobbed off  *because* I have that "other stuff".

I will update again. Just needed to get it off my chest. And I would appreciate prayers that everything is okay! :/


Friday, 24 October 2014

Lydia is ONE! And cycles...

My baby girl turned one yesterday! And I'm SO tired I can't see straight, so I can't say another thing except that I can't believe it has been a whole year and I'm so happy that I have a baby girl STILL, and oh how fun it was to dress her up in a party dress and hair accessories, and you'd better believe I wrapped all her presents in pink wrapping paper and made a pink girly birthday cake, and OH HOW I LOVE HER!!!! :)

Okay, okay, a few photos! :P

Pink cake - my 33rd birthday cake that I've made and decorated for one of my children, but my FIRST girly one, so I went all out and had sooooo much fun! :)




Pink presents! :)




Pink birthday girly absolutely delighted with her own Scuttlebug bike - I nearly got her the hot pink one with white flowers (my mum said I should have!) but thought it would be too over-the-top with the pink! ;) I love the ladybird one though! Lydia rides Elijah's "bikey" all the time. :) She LOVES hers - see?!

 

 

Outside in the garden for a white - this is how Lydia walks, with her little arms and hands up like that, it's so adorable! She'll stop doing that soon, so I'm thrilled to have the photo to remember it by (we don't have ANYTHING that can take video any more, since our phone smashed!). She walks smoothly and quickly now, even speeding up to a race-walk with stiff legs if I'm trying to stop her from going somewhere she shouldn't be, the little monkey! ;) She pivots and turns easily, and I haven't seen her crawl AT ALL in the last few days. *sniffle* For my babies on their first birthday, she is the best walker by far - one or two of them hadn't even taken their first steps, I don't think, and Matthew and Arthur had taken 2 or 3 steps together. She's a pro! :D
 

A couple from earlier in the day, before the party dress was put on! Chocolate chip Briochettes for breakfast, because she loves them. :)




Her sweet face watching us all singing Happy Birthday. She stared and stared, and when we stopped, she bopped her head and made sing-song noises, I think to make us sing again. :) She did not want to touch the flame, in fact, she didn't give it a glance!! This has NEVER happened to me before!!! All my boys wanted to touch that flame - Lydia's only goal was to pick off some sugarpaste balls and eat them, lol!
 



Ohhh, I love this photo because she was copying Neil's mouth as he tried to show her how to blow her candle out (which, of course, she couldn't do) - such a precious little face!


We had Shepherd's Pie for dinner, because it's one of her favourite foods. She is SUCH a great eater, so easy-going about everything in general, and very easy to please. She loves proper food (I might cry...) - things like homemade Shepherd's Pie, roast chicken and the trimmings, fruit crumbles, lamb casserole, etc. *sigh* It's bliss for this mama of dozens of eternally picky and ungrateful eaters (slight exaggeration but accurate in how it feels after almost ten years! Also, when they whine and complain in unison, it always feels like there are double the number of children than there actually are...). Anyway, here's my precious girly enjoying her good food on her birthday! :)





Love her so so so so so much. So. Much. My very own baby girl - I am so blessed to have her! To have all of them! :)

Also, I have had EWCM for a week!!!! This is exciting and encouraging, because I really haven't had much CM at all for many months, so this might mean that my cycles are thinking about resuming at last! :) I have therefore started charting again, and including parsnips where they coincide with fertile signs, for my own reference. I was soooo sure I was ovulating this past week, such were the signs - lots of crampiness, EWCM, etc. etc. but thankfully I was temping so I didn't lose my mind wondering! ;) My temps have remained low (my typical pre-ovulatory range, funny how that hasn't changed in allll these years! I just know what is a pre- or a post-ovulatory temperature, just taking one random temperature out of the blue, after all these years of temping and charting!), so I am sure I haven't ovulated. The EWCM went away over the past couple of days but my temp didn't rise so I guess my body attempted to ovulate but didn't in the end. I just say all this because if anyone happens to see my chart, right now the software says I've ovulated the day after parsnips and am currently 5DPO with a nice big temp dip below the coverline! :P But actually, ALL those temps are too low for me to have ovulated yet. Post-ovulatory temps for me start around the 36.3 range, and all these temps are between 36.0 and 36.24, so... except for the even lower one today. I am sure that the software at FF will adjust accordingly in a few days and realise that I haven't ovulated! If I had, I would be excited to be obsessing about possible pregnancy symptoms! It's bizarre to me that last time I had a baby celebrating a first birthday, I was 17 weeks pregnant - almost halfway through another pregnancy already, and this time it's not even on the horizon! I just can't SHAKE this baby fever thing, hehe! Love it! I hope I have a few more years in me yet, and that God will bless us again! :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Random update at 11 and a half months postpartum :)

I actually have a bit of unexpected time to update!!! We were supposed to go and spend the day with various members of my family today, but my niece got invited to an important party, and then my poor, very elderly grandparents came down with a stinking cold, so the meet-up is postponed. The boys are at the park with Neil while Lydia naps and I... do something useful or relax! :) For the first time in AGES I find myself drawn to this blog, even if just quickly.

My baby girl is nearly a year old!!! Just 10 days from now is the anniversary of my due date, and she was born the very next day. I can't believe how the time has flown, especially in recent months. Lydia seems to be accelerating the feeling, because she's speeding up on those milestones right now. She walks almost everywhere now, hardly any crawling. *sniffle* I love watching her toddle down the hall, or across the garden, with her little hands up, the way new toddlers do! So sweet! :) She is very steady and can walk in a tight circle, or pivot and turn to walk the other way, though she does fall on her bottom plenty still! ;) She has finally mastered riding the ride-on toys after weeks of trying hard every day. She managed going backwards first, pushing her feet on the floor, but this past week she discovered a different way to push with her feet, and can whizz quite speedily now, on the little tricycle - we have a Scuttlebug trike which was Elijah's favourite present on his 2nd birthday (he calls it "Bikey" in such a loving tone of voice, bless him!) and which Lydia loves ever so much, so she will be getting one of her own for her birthday. That will be her main present. My mum said I should buy her the hot pink one, but even with my longing for All Things Pink with my first girl after 6 boys, every time I looked at the pink one it made me feel uncomfortable! Toys that are basically for children (never mind the gender, that is), but which have been marketed in pink, make me cringe. I HATE pink Lego and Mega Blocks. Yuck. But I'm partial to girly toys all the same. Just hate the excessive over-sugared pinkness of toys in general for girls.

Anyway! She will be getting the ladybird one, in red and black. :) Elijah has the blue and green dragonfly one. I love those little bikes! Lydia can also climb on and ride the plastic tractor ride-on, and that red and yellow car thingy with the roof (forget what they're called). She likes to steer frantically, but sometimes falls through the hole in front of the seat as she's so little! Big brothers to the rescue often at our house! ;) She always goes straight back, and is never put off! She loves the Little Tykes plastic see-saw that we were given when we moved house, and can (and does!) rock herself if she sits in the middle part. She climbs on to the end and bobs her head, making "OH!" noises for a brother to sit on the other end, or to help her rock. :) In this first photo, Benjamin was helping her rock, and Elijah photo-bombed (he is EXTREMELY cute and mischievous, in general! ;) ). He leapt on literally a second or two before I took the photo, and struck an instant cute pose, lol! Sweet boy! Lydia has some unique-to-her expressions (not like my other babies) that I really wanted to capture on camera before she outgrows them and I can't remember them any more. I love what she does with her mouth when she's communicating with me in urgent tones - it makes me NEED to kiss her cheeks though, hehe!






She is vocally very... I don't know how better to put it than "urgent"! She has a lot of very important or even URGENT things to say, but no words yet. She uses a lot of different vocal sounds to get her point across, and a wide variety of facial expressions to add to her point! ;) I LOVE watching her communicate, it's so sweet! She is very loud with the "OH" sound, and the funny thing is that she makes her mouth smaller and rounder the more important or urgent her news is. She does "OHHHH" a lot with this, with wide eyes that you absolutely are not allowed to ignore! I wonder if she might be a BIG talker once she's busy with real words... :) Here's an example of her Urgent News mouth - she sneaks down the side of the house to where the stones and pebbles are, and she knows she isn't to do that. See her mouth as she shows me a stone she's picked up. And then it's smaller still with the more urgent news that she's got MILLIONS of stones right there at her feet, lol! ;) So sweet!




In other news, she is climbing. Oh my goodness, is she climbing! She's only 11 months old, and here are a few photos from the past week or so:






Yup, the big bunk bed ladder! She is very steady, and quick, but I don't like to let her try all the same. I was in there with the little two while I tried to organise Matthew and Benjamin's room one afternoon, and they both zipped up the ladder in seconds! Needless to say, we moved back downstairs after that! Next day, there she was on the top of the CD storage thingy! She had previously emptied the bookshelf of books, the little monkey - look at her cheeky expression! Her personality is really shining through now, and I'm loving getting to know her. Also LOOK AT HER HAIR!!! Loving that too! I just wish she was happier with me touching it! She does NOT enjoy having her hair combed or put in hairbands. Clips are easier because they're done more quickly, but she isn't a fan, let's put it that way! I keep telling her, "Baby girls must get used to their mummies doing their hair!" ;)

Lydia has *unfortunately* run out of clothes, as almost all the hand-me-downs we got from friends and family were for sizes up to one year. She is just growing into size 9-12 months now, although she fits some brands well in that size already. The more generous-sized brands are a bit roomy on her still. She fits a size 2 shoe, but only just. I have joyfully purchased my first pair of pink proper baby shoes with hearts and flowers on! :D These are size 2F, but I think she would be better in a G width.



Anyway, what a SHAME it is that I am going to have to shop for baby girl clothes in size 9-12 months and beyond!!! ;) I have begun already, and am thoroughly enjoying myself. I almost never buy clothes from shops for my children - almost all their stuff is second-hand from eBay (like the all outfits in the photos above that arrived this month), with the exception of underwear and jeans for the older 4 boys, as they wear through previously used jeans faster than new ones. I can't fathom the amount of money I've saved over the years buying all my children's clothes at a fraction of the new price! :)

I am particularly excited about my first daughter's first birthday - my first girly birthday! :) I haven't finished deciding on the birthday cake yet, but I am making sure she wears a nice dress and tights set on her birthday, and coordinating hair accessories! :) I may or may not have bought several nice dresses to choose from... :P She will wear all of them anyway! For a while, I have had to stop putting her in dresses because they got in the way of her crawling. Now she is mostly walking, so I have put her in a couple this week which are about knee-length, and to my delight she can crawl fine when she does crawl, and of course they are fine for walking in. If they get under her knee she doesn't fuss like she did a month ago, she just keeps crawling and sort of lifts that knee up as she goes, using her foot instead for that "crawl-step" so that the dress comes out from underneath. I'm excited, because I love little girls in dresses! :) She also owns a lot of long-length pretty tops and leggings sets, because those have been my favourite alternatives while she's been crawling. She also has dungarees, jeans, and trousers, so I'm not being OVERLY picky about the type of clothing! ;)

I am STILL finding it exciting and surreal to say phrases like, "my daughter" or "my little girl". It makes me feel squeally inside just about as much as it did when I was pregnant with her and could hardly believe it was true! :) I think I am getting used to saying "she" and "girl" though, at last. We use "she" in conversation a million times a day, so that's probably why it's finally starting to seem normal! And we all - the boys as much as me - call her "girly-whirly" and "little girl" or "baby girly", and "Girl Pie!" (when she's being a monkey!) a LOT every day, so the word "girl" is definitely feeling more normal now too. It's just references to "MY daughter" that throw me still. I really really REALLY have a daughter! Wheee! :D I didn't expect to still be getting used to it, one year in!

We all love her so much! The boys are SO protective and besotted. They constantly comment to me about how much they love having her, and how glad they are that she's a girl. Matthew said to me today (cheerfully) that he thought he would DIE if we didn't have Lydie, he loves her so much! :) We call her Lydia, but "Lydie" is used by all of us easily as often as Lydia. This is added to at random - the most commonly used being "Lydipede" (or "Miss Lydipede!" (like centipede) if she's being a monkey!). I also sometimes call her "Lyds" or "Lydsie" or even "Lydi-pa-teepee" - I've always been the queen of ridiculous and ever-expanding nicknames for my poor children, lol! ;) There are more, of course, but those are the most common.

Oh I have had to come back and edit this entry to add other nicknames which I can't BELIEVE I forgot! Months and months ago, when talking to Lydia in a cutesy voice most of the time, the word "girl" became "gal", and so lots of her nicknames revolve around that - "Gally" being the most commonly used. All the boys except Elijah use "Gally" to talk to her sometimes, especially when talking in cutesy voices or picking her up for a cuddle. :) She's also "Gallykins" quite a lot, or "Miss Gallykins" (I use that a lot, for some reason!), "Gally-ness", or a mix of two nicknames, "Gal-pede" (aren't these just so feminine and flattering for her?! lol!) which is even shortened to "Galpy" haha! Poor little love! ;) 'Lydia' has also become "Liggety" (NO idea), which means she's all the above "Lydia" nicknames, but with a 'g' in the middle instead - "Lygs", "Lygsie", etc. And "Liggety-Loo", and even, "Ligget" ("Liggert"), which gave rise to "Gertie" for a while! :) Oh yes, I can take a nice name and TOTALLY mess with it! :P She is also regularly, "Muffin Pie" and "Miss Muffin Pie" - I have no idea why. If you've known me for many babies, the revelation of these names shouldn't be overly traumatising, as I've done it with all of them - and it's never intentional! It just.... comes out! And makes me feel extra affectionate towards them. The names fade out as they grow up a bit (in case you were worried for them!). Elijah is still 'Lijah-Loo, "Little Pip", and "Pickly-Bead" on a fairly regular basis! ;) Samuel is occasionally Samuel-Peeps, Samley, Samlin, or Samley-many, and Benjamin is, quite rarely now, Benja-moon. :) He prefers to be called Benji, and that's what we usually call him, though we all call him Benjamin as well. He hears both about the same, but I didn't realise he had a preference until I heard him tell a Sunday School teacher that his name was Benji. :) I still call Nathan, who is 6, Nathey, most of the time. It's just part of his name. He's Nathan, Nathe, or Nathey. His brothers call him the first two, and the little boys call him Nasey, as they can't pronounce Nathey. :) He doesn't mind being called Nathey at all, and I LOVE it. :) Matthew and Arthur are, well, Matthew and Arthur. They often call each other Math and Arth, and the others do too (so do we). I occasionally call Matthew, "Matthie" which he doesn't mind, but that's it. They are growing up way too fast! Arthur will be 10 in a few weeks. *gulp*

It's late now - Lydia woke up and then the boys came home, and here I am finishing my update off instead of being in bed where I need to be! My energy has been way better, and I've felt better in myself in general since I last posted. I've discovered that if I can keep off the anxiety then I feel pretty normal. *sigh* Easier said than done. I have had a relapse of sorts, panicking about Ebola, but if I don't read ANYTHING about it, avoid the news, etc. then I soon distance myself enough to calm the anxiety down and feel well again. So I feel better. :) I'm tired, but okay!

No sign of my periods yet, but I have had some EWCM this week so that's new! :) I don't know that it will come to anything, because I have had a little over the months, once or twice, so we'll see. I will be so pleased and relieved to get a period again! :) I have loved my periods for years and years now. They are a precious gift which has enabled me to have all these lovely children, and I haven't got many more years to appreciate them now, so I'm hoping for a few more! Maybe even ones that will bring me another baby? I am noticing that lately the broody feelings are increasing a bit. I am starting to pray for a sister for Lydia. :)

Saturday, 27 September 2014

I'm still here!

I haven't fallen off the planet!
I still mean to catch up with my Lydia updates!
I haven't forgotten about my blog!

I don't have time to continue with photos and such of my gorgeous girlie tonight, but because it has been SO long (and because it's been on my mind to update, tonight), I wanted to update briefly.

We moved house and relocated at the end of August. We have been here a whole month in two days, and we are starting to properly settle in now. There are still boxes everywhere, and so much still to be done in the house, even though it was in perfect condition when we arrived! I cleaned a toilet in this house for the first time yesterday. Yup, it has been hectic, and there are not enough hours in the day for anything!

Also I have had set-backs, which are frustrating me. I injured my back doing, well, nothing! :/ Lying on my tummy, propped up on my elbows to view my laptop, as that was the only place for the near-useless temporary internet signal, before our proper phone and internet was set up. Apparently my lower back thought that was a really BAD idea. I found a local chiropractor and see him every Saturday at the moment, because I have a TON of stuff going on with my back and neck, as it turns out! The back injury was the worst back pain I have ever had since my back labour with Arthur. Seriously. It kept me awake at night and made me feel queasy and faint and tearful all day. The boys had to take instructions from me about getting breakfast in the mornings, UNTIL lovely Nicola (who I happen to have moved near to!) came and watched ALL my children with two of hers, and I went to have my back seen to.

Then I got mastitis the next week. I had mastitis twice since Lydia turned 8 months old (before this bout), which came as a huge surprise to me because I've never suffered with it before, with the exception of one occasion when Elijah was a week old. I had antibiotics prescribed but ended up clearing the blocked duct myself and then the fluey horrible feelings went away so I didn't take the antibiotics after all. I'm keeping them just in case though! So, mastitis, round 3. This cleared again in 2 or 3 days thanks to Lydia coming down with the cold the boys caught at our first visit to a local church - she breastfed all night long every 15 mins! I was so tired, but at least it helped the mastitis issue! I guess I overcompensated with nursing more from the affected side (like you're supposed to) because a few days later I had mastitis in the other breast. :( It was worse than the first side, and got much more red and swollen and painful, and it took 4 days to clear instead of my "usual" 2-3.

We started homeschooling 2 weeks ago, and I only seem to get 2 days in before I'm unwell and have to stop for a couple of days! Then I'm up and at 'em again for two more days, and BAM, something else hits me. Like Monday evening (after ONE day of school this week) when I felt nauseated like CRAZY all night (couldn't sleep for it) with stomach pain, ugh. I struggled through Tuesday with Neil at work, not really eating, but not feeling any better. Finally Wednesday I felt better, but so weak and exhausted. We have managed to do some school since then, but I'm back to feeling like I did earlier in the year, utterly spent and exhausted, with all my classic symptoms that I'd had back then - AWFUL jaw joint pain (constant and distracting - it hurts to talk and smile so much sometimes that I try not to do much of either. :( ), IBS and gastritis off my previous scale, shaky, heavy muscles, muscle twitches, etc. And major anxiety. I wonder if it's ALL anxiety, as I started to wonder before...? I can't even remember what I did to make it better in the end - it lasted (ebbed and flowed a bit) for MONTHS and months. I have been a bit slack on taking my adrenal support supplements, so I am back on those this week, properly. Otherwise I just don't know what to do. Just plug on, I suppose. I'm trying not to give the symptoms much attention, but it's so hard when they're so... THERE.

Anyway. Alongside all these shenanigans, and the humongous upheaval of moving/relocating, my children continue to grow up!

Arthur is going to be 10 - TEN!!!! Double figures!!!! - in a matter of about 6 weeks. I know I've been blogging here for longer than his existence, but still, it seems kind of poignant that the child I began this blog for, will be a whole decade old soon. It is so very surreal to me! It feels like no time at all, in some ways. I have nearly reached my little personal goal that sits in the back of my mind, of breastfeeding without a break for a decade!! :) It started sitting there when I only had toddler-Arthur and baby-Matthew! It seemed pretty unlikely at the time, just wishful thinking - and look now! :D

Matthew is 8, Nathan is 6 and a half. Benjamin is 5, and has just started school this month! Unbelievable! Samuel is 3 and a half - he will be 4 in December, and tiny 'Lijah is 2 years and 4 months old already. He is just starting to outgrow size 12-18 month clothes and size 4.5 shoes, and talks in full and detailed sentences, with fine motor skills that none of my 2 year olds before him have possessed. Love that tiny little man!

Lydia, meanwhile, is proceeding at a crazy pace towards her first birthday! She is 11 months old, and less than 4 weeks away from her birthday now.

I was realising tonight that in my whole childbearing season, alllll these babies, I have never had an 11 month old (Matthew was 11 months and a few days old though) without being pregnant again, until now.

No, I am not pregnant. It's REALLY strange! I am mostly feeling neutral about it. The weirdest thing to me is my periods. Some of my friends have recently pointed out that I'm not charting, and it's because there is nothing to chart! I had 3 periods, pretty quickly after Lydia was born. I am annoyed with myself because I forgot to chart the last two (I think, two?), and any of the fertile signs like EWCM beforehand, etc. But yeah, normal cycles resumed (as always). Then came this "unwellness" in January or so, and my periods stopped. Now it's nearly October, and I still haven't had a period. Nada. I haven't had any fertile signs. I have had one or two episodes of EWCM, for a day or two at a time, but not for a month or two. I have had low pelvic discomfort and crampiness, but honestly I have almost forgotten what period or ovulation pain feels like, it's been so long! And I have also had low back pain or IBS so I could be confusing things.

Anyway, so I'm not pregnant, and I don't see that happening for a while in any case, because, well, I am not having periods or ovulating. I feel almost.... it's almost a scary feeling, to actually spell it out like that! I don't know why. It's inevitable eventually anyway, and I feel perfectly accepting of that, but I am not sure what to make of this, at this time. Is this it? I know lots of women don't have cycles or ovulation for a year or more after giving birth, but that's not me, is it? That's nowhere near my norm, and why would I suddenly change after 7 babies? Unless it's NOT to do with just random breastfeeding-related stuff. I mean, I DID have three cycles, and then they abruptly stopped, so I think the postnatal breastfeeding hormone stuff doesn't apply to me.

Maybe it's health-related? That is definitely a good possibility, with how stressed I've been and how physically I've been exhibiting it. I do have an anxiety disorder, and it seems to be going FULL BLAST this year, for the first time in my life, I think. I have lost more weight than I normally do, as well. I'm now 8 stone 4lbs, which is the lightest I've been since before Arthur was born. I was lighter before having any children, but I've never gone back down this low between babies. I am not actually all that thrilled about losing so much weight. I would rather be a bit heavier as I don't think it helps me to be too light, energy-wise.

The other thing that occurs to me, is that it's much, much more simple than that. All these years I have been saying that we allow God to choose our family size, and the timing of the babies He chooses to bless us with. He opens and closes my womb as He sees fit, and one day He will definitely close it for good - that's just the next season in life. But maybe right now, God is just being gracious to us? It might seem "out of my norm", and not the usual thing, and like I can't explain it, but actually, God knows. God just KNOWS. It would make sense to me that a gracious God who KNOWS me and KNOWS all the ups and downs of life this year, would close my womb for a time to give us a break from bearing babies.

I am not crazy broody like I expected I would be. I think it's because I am overwhelmed with life right now - the very reason that maybe God has shown me grace by closing my womb. But underneath everything going on, and the exhaustion and anxiety, and how scary it would be to think of coping physically with another pregnancy and newborn season, I really would LOVE to have another baby. I am not sure if I will now. I will be 39 in February. I'm not a young mummy any more. I know I'm still "just" in my 30s, but on the other hand, I know women who have already started menopause by this age, and my own mother (and hers) were perimenopausal between 40 and 42 (and full on menopausal at 42). It doesn't mean *I* will be, I know that too. I will wait to see how GOD writes MY story. But I know it's a possibility, and even if it's not now, I know the years ahead of me are dwindling and few. It makes me feel sad, but not raw, if you know what I mean. Just wistful, and thankful, and ohhh, if only I had time for ONE more! That sort of feeling. :) I know everything has its season - it's God's design, and I trust Him.

So, that's where I am right now. Wondering. Maybe Lydia is my last baby? Neil thinks so. He always says that after each baby though, since Matthew, lol! ;) There IS a sense of change, of moving-on, that has come with moving house. I have birthed 5 babies and brought home the other two, in our previous house, where we lived for 13 years (I was so sad to leave!!!). Now, here we are. In a beautiful house, big enough for us at LAST! :) But have we left behind those years of bearing children? Is this a new season, along with a new location and new home? Maybe not, but the feeling leaves me wondering....

And along with the above feeling, there's another "wondering". The fact that my heart's desire was for a daughter alllllll these years. And when I was six years old my sole desire for my life was to have six children, one for each year of my age. :) So, God has blessed me with six children. After Elijah, I wondered if maybe that would be all my children, because I had had six. I knew that God knew I longed for a daughter, but I was SO blessed with six children, all boys being neither here nor there! So that didn't matter. :) THEN God blessed me with my baby girl! He is wonderful and I love Him! :) But was it a P.S. at the end? I feel greedy enjoying birthing babies so very much, and longing for more, even though I know it's a God-given enjoyment and He *intends* us to love it and long for more of His blessings...

So much pondering, and I've been wanting to use this blog to do it for SO long - months and months, but I just had so much catching up to do here first, and never got around to it. So now I'm making time. Now maybe the babies have stopped coming?

My heart says I would dearly love a sister for Lydia. I would LOVE to have another baby girl. I would love to use the precious girly clothes that I'm reluctantly folding into boxes and putting away as Lydia outgrows them - to use them on one child only feels SO FEW after the wearings-until-they-fall-apart of the clothes for my little boys! ;) It feels like not enough wear! I so want to use them again on another daughter. Silly little things, like how much I would love to say phrases like, "My girls" (see how that makes a glow like warm mahogany shine through my whole being as I think it!), and "my sons and daughters" (HOW blessed?!?!!!), and "Your sisters" (to the boys), etc. I would love all of my boys to be able to say that they have brothers and sisters. I have always wished, as a child, that I was blessed enough to say "my brothers and sisters" like some of the children in books I read. Ultimately, I would love to have 3 daughters so that ALL my children can say they have brothers and sisters, ha! ;) And more daughters = more best friends for mama! :) My mummy is my best friend (aside from Neil), and I would love that kind of bond with my own daughter(s).

On the other hand, I would also love to have another baby boy - that is to say, I would not be disappointed if I had a baby boy instead of a baby girl. I think I would be disappointed that Lydia didn't have a sister (I SO want that for her!), but I wouldn't be disappointed with my precious boy baby! :) If Lydia had been a boy, I think we would have called him Daniel, because although we were thinking of Toby, I wasn't settled with it in the end, and was already preferring Daniel before we found out she was a girl. I liked the flow with the other boys' names, and it's another letter we haven't used yet, which I'm liking! :)

So yes, I would love another baby. I wonder... I wonder... Will it ever happen? I can't know, and I have no power over anything - it's all out of my hands. No periods, no fertility, no knowing if or when it will come back. I just have to wait, and leave it in God's hands, which is the very best place for it to be.

I know I should catch up on Lydia's earlier photos first, but I can't right now, and I can't resist finishing this update with a few photos! :)  So, here we all are last month, literally before we drove away from our old (WAY too small!) house. And here are all my babies on the lawn in our new back garden. :) These are all taken with the mobile phone, so not great quality, but never mind! :)




And finally, two photos of my precious baby girly, about a week or so ago. Her hair continues to grow, and these photos were taken because I was so amazed that all of her hair now fits into a pony tail on the back of her head! She is so girly in her voice and some of her mannerisms - I still delight in noticing all these things! :) She is walking a lot now - my earliest walker at 10 months old! She now sets off walking more often than she sets off crawling (just this week), and can take 12 or more steps at a time, though she usually falls after a handful of steps still. She is into opening cupboards, emptying shelves, eating anything she finds on the floor, and climbing. She likes getting onto see-saws and tricycles and trying to make them go, and she practices climbing in and out and in and out and in and out of the house via the French doors when they are open for the boys to play in the garden. I love her soooooooooo!




Back soon, hopefully! Thanks so much for all the messages and love since I last updated! xxxx

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Another catch up - Lydia from 6 to 8 months!

Yes, I'm back again! :) It's because I want to get up-to-date already, so that I can talk about what's on my mind (hint: not photos of Lydia, much as I love her!). But, a separate post, so I want to catch up first.

Last entry I posted up to when she turned 6 months old, and I'm going to carry on from there. This is really for my own record-keeping here, so I have something to look back on, but if others enjoy it too, so much the better! :) Thanks for the sweet comments on my last two catch-up posts, by the way! And I am feeling much better, thanks! SO relieved about that. I am taking adrenal support formula (basically bovine adrenal gland) every morning, and a herbal tincture 3x a day. Also seem to have issues with anxiety that are converting into physical symptoms a lot, so I am working on some relaxation techniques and diaphragmatic breathing to see if that helps (it is!). Getting there. Still feeling tired, shaky and weak at times, and panic easily, but SO much better than I was! I'm functioning almost completely normally again - not quite, but almost! :)

So, this first photo of Lydia was taken at 6 months and 4 days old, right after the last photos in the last entry. It's significant because she was sitting for the first time on her own (well, she'd done it a couple of other times that day and the day before), and although she keeled over after just a few seconds, she was able to sit bolt upright so long as she was concentrating on a toy! It's also to record her first proper "bunches"! She had sparkly pink hair bands and a strawberry hair clip and everything! :D I was seriously so excited, lol!


Breakfast, aged 6 months and 3 weeks. She was juuuust beginning to become really interested in food, since I let her be a few weeks before, and only wanted dry finger food to gnaw on and then push out, so toast was a hit! ;)





These were taken at 7 months and 1 week old - Lydia and 'Lijah (who turned 2 a few days beforehand) playing together on the rug in the living room. :) She looks bigger than Elijah here, but she really wasn't! He's very petite, for sure (and she isn't, hehe!), but it was purely camera angles, honest! She was getting very comfortable on all-fours, having started rocking for a couple of weeks already, and later in the day after I took these photos, she did a little crawl for the first time! Exciting! :)


 
 
 
A week later, at 7 and a half months, she began kneeling at things and she was officially crawling everywhere! Real proper crawling! She didn't bum shuffle or army crawl at all, just rocked and lunged forwards for a couple of weeks, followed by a "tentative week" of little crawls, and then off she went! I have a video from the 8th of June (the photos above and her first little crawl took place on the 30th of May) but I don't know how to upload videos here any more. Only the phone will take videos, which don't upload to my laptop, and I can only upload laptop stuff to blogger for some reason. :( Anyway, another week later (June 15th, so 7 months and 3 weeks old), this happened after church:
 
 


 
 
She pulled to stand! This quickly became her new favourite activity to practice as often as possible, and she began cruising EVER SO tentatively with barely perceptible foot movements (!!) over the next couple of weeks. She was so subtle about it that I actually can't say when she started cruising! I would sometimes WATCH her to see if she could do it, and I still couldn't say that she HAD, but she would definitely be a foot or two further along the sofa, lol!
 
Here she is with 'Lijah in the garden, a few days before turning 8 months old. Aren't they little and sweet?! I had a rare afternoon with just these two treasures, because Arthur and Matthew were at a midsummer fete with Heather and her family, and the three middle boys (!) had been invited to a 4-year-old's birthday party, which Neil took them to and stayed to help. So I took the tiny two in the garden for a snack and some play time. It felt SO quiet, and our tiny garden seemed so big, lol!
 
 
 
 
A day after the above photo - June 22nd - the day before she turned 8 months old, she started waving and clapping all of a sudden in the afternoon! :) She could respond to us waving or clapping to her by copying us, and initiate it so we would copy her. She loves waving and clapping, and funnily enough she is very delicate with both actions, nothing frantic or flappy at all! ;) She uses small careful movements to wave, turning her wrist this way and that as though she's slowly feeling it out, and clapping is a calm, measured activity. She's SO different from my boys! :)
 
These next photos are from the same weekend - Lydia discovered once and for all that real proper meals are wonderful! ;) Heather, bless her precious heart, has spent two whole days cooking a variety of really wholesome yummy meals for us, and has stocked our freezer with weeks worth of meals. I love her so much! She's such a wonderful friend. I will SO miss having her nearby when we move, and she is moving too, so it feels even more of a "removal"! Anyway, we just served Lydia all Heather's home-cooked meals, and she LOVED them! I have some standards to live up to now, lol! Here she is discovering the joys of sausage casserole! She ate the end of my plateful, and I even offered her some banana cake for dessert, but she wanted more sausage casserole and peas instead! She had her own portions from this day on! ;)
 





 
 
She has never looked back! :) See, look - spaghetti bolognese (8 months old from here onwards):
 


Fish Pie! Happy Eater! :) She likes EVERYTHING! What a difference from 6 months old when she clearly wasn't ready for food yet. Babies are ready for solid food in. their. own. time!

 
 
A few days after she turned 8 months old, I found my long lost really special camera lens, and started snapping photos of Lydia straight away! :) Here are a few of my favourites:
 
Eating paper - she's a major paper fiend. And stickers, fluff, bits of crayon, cardboard, etc. Anything she can eat off the floor, she will! :/
 


Such big blue eyes! :) Love her!



Playing with Duplo, really concentrating on the feel of the Duplo surfaces moving together:



Laughing at Matthew! I love this one. She loves Matthew so much, and he loves her and spends quite a bit of time with her too. They all do, but he's especially tender and affectionate with her.


See how happy?! Matthew was holding her upright under her arms, "walking" her about. :)



Little tiny peeps playing together. I remember Elijah was also 8 months old the first time I had reason to photograph him actually playing alongside Samuel. Seems to be a developmental stage for my littles! :)


 
 
I have more, I have more! But I have to go to bed. We're at 8 months now, so another 2 months caught up, and only one left to go, yay! :) See how her hair is just growing and growing! It is now too long in the front, and I have to clip or tie it back so she doesn't rub it in her eyes or get loads of food in it. I don't plan to cut it at ALL, because I adore little girls with long hair the same length all over. I am not a massive fan of The Fringe (bangs) even though it does look sweet on little girls. I love the natural look of the front being long too, and swept to one or both sides. Really excited about hair-related things with my baby girl! :)