Wednesday, 11 November 2015

32 weeks pregnant!!! :-O

Aaaargh, I keep trying! Honestly! I tried an update when I reached my 3rd trimester at 27 weeks, never got to write enough worth posting! Then I have had a draft post titled "30 weeks (THIRTY!!!)" sitting here not getting finished, and it's just NO GOOD! I can't get a blog post written, much as I want to, and see the comments coming in wondering if I'm okay! :/

I am dizzy and headachy with exhaustion tonight and it's already nearly midnight, but there is NO other time to write for long enough to make a blog post with everything I need to update about! So I have to push into sleep time to do it. I know I will want these posts to look back on in any case, so it IS worthwhile. Just a way of explaining why on earth I haven't been here in so very long! First I will copy and paste the little I'd written for the 30 week post:

"Such a long time since I updated - so sorry! I just can't seem to make time for updates, as they take a block of my time and I don't have any spare blocks of time! :/ I will try this entry in bits and pieces and hope I remember to return to it to continue instead of leaving it as a draft until next year, lol!

Thanks so much for the comments on my last entry, and for chasing me up to see where I am! :) Jane, I would be happy to help if I can re. the little one on the autistic spectrum - can you email me (I think you can click a link on my profile)? I will try to reply as soon as I can.

So I have shifted gear from the 20s to the 30s ALREADY!!! I am 30 weeks pregnant, three-quarters of the way through my pregnancy, and therefore less than 10 weeks from my due date! I can't belieeeeeve how fast it is suddenly going, though I expected it, because I knew from previous pregnancies how fast it goes as we get nearer to the end. I know the next 10 weeks will flash by, getting faster and faster, and there is SO MUCH TO DO in that time, I can't tell you!! It's a bit unnerving actually, but exciting too.

Lydia turned 2 last week! She really did! I have never had a two-year-old without also having a younger one. It also means it'll be ages before I have a one-year-old again, now that Lydie isn't one any more. Usually it's only a few months before the next little one turns one. Things feel quite different this time around, with a bigger gap than I've ever had between babies! Lydia is very "grown up" in her ways (this could be read as "bossy", "assertive", etc. lol! but she's very sweet with it!). Her speech is more advanced than any of her brothers at her 2nd birthday, which helps. She can tell tales on her brothers in sentences (sigh!), explain why she is saying no to something, tell me what she wants to do and what she needs to do it, etc. It's so lovely for her to be able to communicate so much at this age. Now that I've seen it, I can only imagine how frustrated my boys must have been (especially those who only had a bunch of single words at their second birthdays!), having all these same things in their heads to say and yet no method of communicating them. She isn't having tantrums like they were, though she can definitely throw a strop if she needs to! So I'm wondering if that was what the tantrums were about? SO different having a girl, and it turns out to be true about girls and language skills, although the other side of the coin (boys being quicker at motor skills) is 100% untrue in Lydia's case. She is advanced on motor skills as well - walked earlier than the boys, threads laces and cuts well with scissors, and has somehow taught herself to hold a pencil in a perfect writing grip, to draw! She's SO girly, sings all the time, has a very definite opinion on clothes (hers and mine!), and still has sweet high pitched little giggles that none of the boys have done, when she's being cheeky with her daddy, or being tickled. :) We all love her SO, and we're so happy to have a little girl in our family! I am absolutely pinching myself at the moment that I get to have TWO girls! I mean, one is just the most amazing gift and blessing, but TWO?!! I can't get over it. Amazing God."

That is all I managed to write, and then my time was up, and though I kept meaning to find time to continue, it never happened. So that's not a method I will try again - adding to a post bit by bit to get it done. I will try to say as much as I possibly can as quickly as I can right now, lol!

So I am 32 weeks pregnant! How surreal is that! I feel like just yesterday it was completely surreal that I was entering my 3rd trimester. I know my due date will be upon me LIKE THAT. And I'm not ready, and so it's starting to stress me a little!

We have so much to get ready, and honestly I cannot fathom how we can get it all done - but it MUST be done!

* Samuel (nearly 5), Elijah (3.5) and Lydia (2) sleep in the big master bedroom with us. The boys have a shorty "bunk" which is really a cabin bed with a mattress on the floor underneath for the "bottom bunk". We keep our little ones close at night while they are still waking and needing us, and the older four boys rarely wake, but come to us if they need anything. Samuel wakes most nights just from a bad dream or needing a drink, or cold and tangled in his covers, etc. Some nights he's restless and wakes more often. He is starting to get up and get the drink from the shelf himself now, without disturbing us, and he can also put his covers back on himself some of the time. Elijah wakes sometimes, and cries like a little one until someone comes. They are almost ready to be in their own room now, and I would not have been comfortable about it any sooner, honestly. I think they will be able to learn to come to us if they need us, or hopefully we'll hear 'Lijah cry and get up and go to him if needed, if they are in their own room. Anyway, they NEED to move out of our room in time for the baby to arrive! Our smallest bedroom (we have 4 now) has been a "junk" room since we moved here, because we had a ton of boxes and stuff to sort that we never had time to do, and that particular room was used as an office by the previous owners, and that was the only room in the house that they smoked in, ugh. It was not awful, but you can still smell the yucky smell if the door has been closed for a while, so I want to strip it of EVERYTHING - wallpaper, carpet, lightshade, blind - that was left by the last people, and rip out the fitted wardrobe which is just taking up space (and harbouring the smell), and re-decorate it completely. We have been here 14 months now and STILL haven't found time to get it done, but our time is officially up so we have to get it done somehow. The little boys need it for their bedroom. I am panicking about how on earth we can do it. We can't afford decorators, Neil has zero time off work between now and Christmas (I will be 38.5 weeks at Christmas and it DEFINITELY has to be done well before then!), and we are up to our ears in parenting small children for every waking second that he's home! :/  We are slowwwly getting the junk and boxes shifted over many weekends, but there aren't enough left now!

* Lydia has always slept by my side in the double mattress on the floor. Neil is next to our bed in another double bed (proper frame, not on the floor), but mine is the "nursing bed". :) Safer for her so she hasn't got anywhere to fall out of. So she has never slept apart from me, and she is still nursing on demand day and night. She wakes at night maybe once or twice, though if she's unwell or having a bad night, she might wake several times and be very clingy and whimpery. She doesn't like Neil to lie with her instead of me, like when I'm unwell and can't be next to her because I'm pacing around nauseated downstairs (it turns out that I'm having fairly frequent attacks of IBS or something, but with SO MUCH NAUSEA, urgh. I was sure it was a tummy bug the first time, but it's recurring and seems very IBS-like, so probably not. :/ ). She just cries and stays awake until I'm there! Which is also a nerve-wracking thought when I think of how soon the new baby will arrive.

* For the first time we plan to have Lydia stay in the room with us, the same room as the new baby. The only time we ever did this was with Arthur, when Nathan was born. Matthew and I went into a different room and left Neil co-sleeping with Arthur, when Matthew was born. I meant to move Arthur in with Matthew in time for Nathan's arrival, but of course he came at 35 weeks (PLEASE NO, BABY!) and Arthur was still where he was! He stayed a few weeks and was disturbed at first by Nathan's wakings, and then got more used to it and slept through most of them. I was glad to have a space for just the baby and me though, and after that we had "the boys' room" at our old house, and every time a new baby was nearly due, we moved the previous baby out of my bed and into the boys' room with his older brothers. Because they were so little when moving in (less than 18 months old), Neil slept on the floor in their room so he could attend to their wakings, which they continued to do frequently until they were between 2 and 3. Neil actually got better sleep that way anyway, because I was up a LOT with a tiny baby. Soooo, this time, we're in a new home. We have no "boys' room" for the littlest to move into, and we don't want to go back to Neil moving onto some child's bedroom floor to attend to wakings! BUT we don't feel right making such a huge transition for Lydie. Away from my side, night weaned, and out of our room completely, very obviously "replaced" by a new little person! Nope. So the only option we can think of is that the boys move out, and she gets a fancy new toddler bed to entice her to sleep where their bed was, in our room. I need to night-wean her the moment we get her in there, and hopefully she will adjust to the disturbances of the baby waking at night for nappy changes and milk, etc. If it doesn't work, I guess we will have to think of an alternative, after the baby is here and we've tried it for a while. The alternative would have to be me and the tiny one moving out of the bedroom, I think, but I am not sure where we would go as all the bedrooms are full! :/

* Before that, we have to redecorate our bedroom! The blinds that were fitted when we moved in have pulled the plaster off the wall and fallen down, exposing brickwork! So they are "pinned" up and taken down every day which is a huge pain, and we need those areas replastering. NO IDEA what we are going to do! Plastering isn't something you can just hop up and decide to do, and we can't afford to get someone in to do it! :( We have wallpaper here (I hate wallpaper with small children!) and the little ones have peeled it in places so it looks awful! I plan to give birth in that room (unless it's night time of course, and then I guess I'll be downstairs?! I hope it's day time. I would MUCH rather give birth in my cosy familiar bed...), and therefore midwives and various others will attend me in there, so it CANNOT look like that still when my due date rolls around.

* Then there's the various things I have not even turned my mind to yet, like writing a birth plan (new midwives here, new hospital, so much that I'm not familiar with!), packing a hospital bag, planning what to do if I end up transferring to hospital for any reason, etc.

* Big spanner in the works right now: My dear and lovely doula, who we haven't seen in over a year (well, briefly for an afternoon at their wedding anniversary renewal of vows in September), is suffering terribly from depression and is completely debilitated by it at the moment. She wrote last week to tell me she's SO sorry but right now she cannot doula for me, she is just not able. :( I feel for her so badly. I have been there with debilitating depression, and know how awful it is. Also I just love her so much and wish her better! MUCH less importantly, but still valid, I am not sure what to do about not having someone to count on when I have my baby! :( Of course I wrote back telling her not to worry about a THING from my point of view, that I would be absolutely fine if I needed to do it without her, and she must not feel guilty. But I am starting to get anxious! Neil can't be there for me, at home or in hospital, even in an emergency, because he's needed for the children day and night. My parents can't (and probably won't) come all the way from France. They were my support plan for my 3rd baby, but they were in France when he arrived early and so we realised that it really wouldn't work. My labours are quick. And I don't like to have it hanging over me that my desperately needed support very likely won't make it to me in time - it's a stress leading up to the birth, and I don't want that. Heather lives an hour or so away by car, which is already a new thing to work with, but she was planning to come and stay with us for a few days leading up to my likely time of labour, and then stay afterwards for a few days as well. Now she won't be able to be here for me at all, and I feel rather lost and scared wondering what will happen.

* Soooo, I need prayer! Please pray that Heather will respond well to the new treatment she's started for her depression, and feel so much better in the coming couple of months that she will be able to come and be here after all. I don't want to be selfish about it - her wellbeing is more important! But I so hope she'll be okay, and I won't have to be alone... Also, please pray that I will have a perfectly healthy, safe, straightforward homebirth. I would hate to transfer to hospital ANYWAY, even with Heather by my side. It upsets me hugely to leave my "nest" and my little ones when I'm in labour. But I can't fathom doing it without someone by my side to support me, help me breathe and pray for me when I am having a panic attack (which, likely, if I go into hospital, especially given that to do that I would have to be having some sort of worrying complication in the first place), and hold my hand if I cry. Neil absolutely can't. There's nobody we can leave the children with, and it would be for too long to have someone at our house who they are not completely used to (for overnight, or bedtime routine, etc.) - they just wouldn't cope with not having a parent at home, especially the Asperger's ones, and the tiny ones. :( Also please pray that the timing of the labour and birth would be perfect - not just at home and uncomplicated, but at a time of day or night that means I am able to get on with it feeling supported and surrounded, even if I don't have a doula with me. Right now I am thinking it would have to be day time. Night time means that Neil would be on hand for me more, but he isn't the best birth support person, I feel awkward saying it, but it's true! :/ He doesn't know what to say or do, isn't tuned into me to know when I need comfort, or calming, or just a hand to hold, and comes over faint even before the birthy part arrives, lol! He hasn't been there for the last 3 babies at all, and just nipped in for Benjamin's (4 babies ago) to see him born as I really wanted him to. So it isn't as straightforward as all that to just hope for night time and having Neil with me - he isn't as comforting to me as even a midwife, let alone a doula, and I would constantly be distracted being concerned that he was feeling faint or funny. *sigh*

I currently feel like day time labour and birth would suit me best. I get anxious easily at night, even in the evening like with Lydia's labour, I was strangely anxious and uneasy with the time of day - even in my familiar room that I always gave birth in (don't have that any more!), and Heather by my side. I just put it down to it being a different time of day, one that I am most prone to anxiety in. Day time would mean I would feel more in control, more surrounded by normal life around the house, and people coming and going - not hushed and "strange" like night time. I would feel comforted that Neil was looking after the little ones having their normal day, and I could hopefully tune in to my midwife (who I may not even have met, as I only have one named midwife that I see every time - nice idea but not that useful when she only works 3 days a week and therefore isn't likely to be on hand for my birth!) as my source of support.

Urrrrghhhh. The whole thing is making me anxious. I just hope it all goes smoothly, and I somehow manage the difficult parts of labour where I typically panic and need MAJOR support (transition and actual birthing), without anyone to give me that support. Even with a good "chin up!" attitude to it, I realistically know that I won't cope well in those moments without a doula or similar support. Heather doesn't charge us any more - she doesn't take doula clients any longer, and only comes to us because we are close friends and she wouldn't miss it for the world! :) I'm so blessed to have her! We can't afford to just get another doula. We couldn't afford Heather if she was still charging us either.

Changing the subject! :/

* We finally decided on the baby's name! Neil wasn't sure about it STILL, but he gave in in the end because he had no ideas - he liked Sophie and Amy, but I really didn't like Amy and Sophie just didn't feel "right" for this baby somehow. I kept coming back to how the boys have wanted a sister called Rosie. Time is just passing and we were getting nowhere, and I started to fall in love with Rosalie again (which I previously loved but then became unsure - this baby has been the hardest to name by far, lol!). Neil said he wasn't sure if he'd ever like it (!!) even after saying it was really nice just a few weeks earlier!! It's hard to work with him on names! ;) Then this week he said he had sat in the car and tried it out, as though calling her or telling her off, lol! And he likes it well enough. So that we don't change our minds again (I REALLY don't want to anyway, I love it!), we officially told the children yesterday after cutting Arthur's birthday cake (he's ELEVEN!!!! *gasp*).

Our baby's name is Rosalie Averil. :) She will likely be called Rosie by her brothers (they are just SO pleased!!), but I also want to call her Rosalie, and Rose. I am really happy with her name, it's girly and pretty and versatile enough to change about if I want to. We haven't used the letter R before, so it works well! Lydie pronounces it, "Rosie-Rosie" :) I LOVE having a name to use now, as I coo over her and talk to her when she pushes her feet about in my side! :)

PLEASE DO NOT mention her name at all if you know me on Facebook! I desperately want to keep it a surprise for the birth announcement! Sometimes friends have slipped up in the past, so I'm just asking again, please try not to let it slip! Thank you! :)

So, Rosalie (yay!) is very active and busy in there. She gets hiccups several times a day, and is now very vigorous with her feet, always pushing them out of my bump on my upper right side. She is always head down with her back always on my left side. Occasionally she swings round to my right side, but never stays there long. :) A couple of weeks ago, we discovered that she's exactly the same size (to the cm!) as the baby dolly that Lydia got for her birthday from her Grandma (the one named Averil!). We even measured the doll's head circumference and found it was the same measurement as a baby in the womb at 30 weeks! So we had a good life-size reference, and I curled it up and placed it over Rosalie's position on my tummy. It was really eye-opening to see, and I think the children really "got it" when they saw that example! The doll's bottom was in the same exact place as the solid bump they could feel right underneath inside my tummy, and the doll's feet were an inch from where they could actively feel our baby's feet kicking at their hands! They got to see that her head must be way down in my hips. It was really great to have that visual! :)

I am tired and generally feeling more yucky this pregnancy. Not terrible (except when these rounds of horrible nausea and bowel issues kick in), but worse than I'm used to at this stage of my pregnancies. I didn't feel so good with Lydia either, and some of my friends have said that they felt worse throughout the pregnancy with their GIRLS, than their boys. So maybe that's all it is? I wondered if it's just that I'm getting older. Maybe...

I had a midwife appointment at 28 weeks, unwell at the time because I'd been up ALL night trying not to be sick (happened to have a bout of whatever this IBS-type issue is, which has recurred several times since). She did my routine bloods and I asked her specifically if she would test not only my haemoglobin, but also my ferritin (iron stores). I felt that with allllll that bleeding I did early on, I may well be low on iron. Sure enough, my haemoglobin came back okay, but my ferritin was low. I have been taking Floradix iron supplements since then, though not always consistently if I am feeling sick.  She wants to re-test at 34 weeks to see if it is coming back up, as low ferritin might not be a good idea at the time of birth. :/ I hope it's coming up.

My midwife phoned me yesterday and asked to pop in and see me that afternoon, but it was Arthur's birthday so she is coming tomorrow instead. I am slightly unnerved, because she was really clear that there are no appointments until 34 weeks, as a routine. I wonder why she is coming?

Okay it's so late and my head really hurts. I was up most of the night 2 nights ago decorating Arthur's birthday cake, and then I had another late night last night, so I was DESPERATE for an early night tonight, but alas! :/ Nearly 1am now. I will try to go to bed with the children tomorrow, and hope I manage through the day  - they have swimming lessons tomorrow which will be a challenge!

I remembered I never posted the last 2 belly pictures I took (25 weeks and the special one I always take at 28 weeks with the children around me), so I am going to finish with those tonight. I randomly grabbed the camera and used the timer to take a quick one for 32 weeks tonight too, so yay, at least I've covered a few weeks now! :) It's so easy to forget to take belly pictures! Here they are (I think photobucket has made my photos poor and grainy looking for some reason, which it didn't used to do!):

25 weeks:

28 weeks, with all my lovely treasures! :)

32 weeks:

Random thing I almost forgot! - I now weigh exactly 11 stone, so I have gained 35lbs (I think?? I can't remember if I was 8st 5lbs or 8st 7lbs at the start!) so far. My weight gain is odd (to me!) - I didn't gain a thing for several weeks, not one pound, and then in one week I gained 6lbs and felt dreadful the following week - exhausted and achy with my leg muscles in particular trying to catch up with their extra load, lol! I wish I could remember how many weeks I was when that happened... I think it must have been before 28 weeks because I remember mentioning it to the midwife and she just nodded and said weight gain can happen like that - so long as it slows down again, it's fine. And I *think* it had JUST happened, so maybe 27 weeks was when I gained 6lbs? Anyway, for 3 weeks following, I gained NOTHING, no lbs at all! Again! I was bracing myself for another 6lbs after those 3 weeks, lol! But, I have gained just 2lbs since, and have held steady with no weight gain for most of this past week. Interesting!

I will TRY, I really will, to update again! I am just so pushed for time. I forgot to say that never mind all the baby prep listed above, Samuel's birthday is less than 6 weeks away, with Christmas 4 days after! And I need to have everything ready for Nathan's birthday by then too (Jan 12th) because I know I won't have time to focus on it once it's baby time, and it will be a stress hanging over me if it's not all nicely ready and packed away before Rosalie is born. :/ Please do pray for me, getting everything done, and not going insane stressing over things! Thank you! :)

Friday, 18 September 2015

24 weeks pregnant!

Oh this is terrible!! It has taken me so long to update - a whole month has gone by! :/ I just can't seem to find time to update this blog, because I know I will need a good bit of time every time I update, with all the long-windedness and news from my head that I always like to write. I am no good at short updates, lol! I'm starting this even though it's mid-afternoon, someone is working on a pooey nappy that I'll need to change in a minute, and I need to get on with the next thing to do (some school lessons, and also making spaghetti Bolognese). It's the absolute worst time to sit and start writing a blog update, but WHEN am I going to aside from this?! I know I may only get a paragraph in, and then stop for days, but at least I'm making a start from which I can continue (and maybe be more motivated to remember, as I've made that start) any time I get a moment.

I have been so tired, and going to bed with the children about half the nights in a week, every week, just to maintain life. That means my only waking hours are the ones where I'm on the go constantly with all the children - most of them get up before I do in the mornings, and if I go to sleep before some of them doze off, well, I just have no time for my own pursuits, aside from much less time-consuming updates on Facebook. (Julie from Heartlight, I haven't forgotten your request!! I don't have a way to contact you, but yes I would love to friend you on Facebook, after all these years! :) I am generally picky about friending anyone I do not know, and never accept a friend request if it's not accompanied by a personal message - because honestly, I have no idea who most of you are, lol! It's nothing personal, but if I don't know you I'm unlikely to accept a request - I am pretty open on Facebook, but my name and location and such are there, so I'm picky.)

So I am getting bigger. Much bigger, these last few weeks! I feel "properly pregnant", which I guess is my way of saying that I feel "really pregnant", but I know I can't really say that yet at 24 weeks, since it pales into insignificance compared with 35 weeks and beyond, in my experience, lol! I feel physically more restricted now. Uncomfortable a lot, and my bump gets in the way of my diaphragm when I am sitting down - I have to keep straightening my back to take a deep breath. Bending over sharply without thinking results in pain low down under my bump, and I'm slowly learning to remember not to make that sudden move any more. It's hard to cut my toenails, and I feel breathless a lot, and night time isn't very comfy at all, getting a good position to sleep in. I still have a lot of searing ligament pains, even at night when I'm in a perfectly comfy position and not moving at all! I guess the baby suddenly moves and then my ligaments are pulled on differently, so they complain. It's harder getting up from my mattress on the floor that is mine and Lydia's bed, now. In the coming months, we'll figure out and implement a plan for where she'll sleep, and get ready for the new baby moving into bed next to me. Neil is nearby but Lydia still breastfeeds on demand at night, so it affects his sleep less when he's not on the same mattress as us! As it happens he's a terrible sleep-mate, lol! I have never had a night's sleep as good as before I got married, mostly because I'm attending little ones every night for the last 10 years, and then pregnantly disturbed (!!) for the months before that, but in the few years before we had children, I was constantly disturbed by Neil. He thrashes about, has no awareness of another person in the bed, and snores. He talks, mumbles and shouts in his sleep, and wakes violently from bad dreams! I thought I would get used to it over the years being married to him, but nope. I am thinking of separate beds in the same room after we've finished having little ones in the room, lol! Need my sleep!

Children are doing chores now. I can carry on for a few minutes.

We haven't settled on a name yet for this baby girl! We keep thinking that we have the one we're going to use, and I actually say it when I talk about the baby and things that I see that will be set aside for her (things that Lydia has outgrown, etc.). But then the next day I will think, "Is that REALLY going to be her name?..." and I feel not quite settled with using it. I still think it pretty much IS the name we'll go with, so I keep using it when I refer to her. But in the not-knowing, and therefore getting to 24 weeks and not having told anyone at all about a name we might use (except for the shortlist I mentioned here last time) I am feeling more and more drawn to keeping the name a secret for announcing at the birth, like I usually do for the rest of the world, only here and with close friends at Facebook too! :) Never done that before... I always like to talk about everything in my head here, as it happens, and that includes calling my baby by his or her name from as soon as I know what it is and it's therefore in my head all the time in reference to the baby. Maybe it's because I'm not quite 100% sure that we WILL use this name in the end, and maybe once I do feel sure, I'll want to use it here. But I'm quite enjoying the secret, and that nobody knows - everybody can't wait to find out, but nobody knows! :) It's nice! Sorry for the frustration, but it's nice, hehe!

It IS one of the names on the shortlist, but there's a chance we might change it for another one on the shortlist. Also there's a slimmer chance that from out of the blue, another name we hadn't considered will cross our minds and we'll end up choosing that. I *think* we are settled. The boys won't know until we've absolutely decided. Most of the time we are sure, but there are still moments of doubt for me, and maybe that can be normal in pregnancy, but it's not my norm so I'm unsettled by the feeling.

Meg asked how we'd pronounce Rosalie in the comments after last entry. If we use that name, we would absolutely pronounce it Rose-a-lee. I had a moment when I read that, of slight panic, thinking I didn't want a name that might be mispronounced! I had never even considered "Roz-a-lee" as a way to say the name, and went straight to as many baby name websites as I could find. After 10 websites in a row said that the only pronunciation was "Rose-a-lee" I was reassured! It isn't like Rosalind, it's a "Rose" name, and doesn't have an option for "Roz-a-lee" on the how-to-pronounce info, so hopefully not many people would think it was pronounced that way, if we choose it. The good thing about Charlotte, Rose and Hannah is that they are classic, obvious names that nobody will mispronounce or mis-spell!

Baby girly has had hiccups for the first time, a couple of weeks ago! I was so excited!! I love this stage, big walloping kicks (compared with the teeny fluttery ones of the early months), obvious baby bump, and hiccups! I love baby hiccups, I feel so proud of my little ones knowing that they are practicing their breathing in there, and that is why they are getting hiccups. In the past week I saw my tummy going up and down rhythmically for a moment, and I recognised it as practice breathing. :) Good girl!

She is now viable - hooray! I know it's still super early, but if she was born now, she would have a chance of survival outside my body. Bizarre and surreal thought - I really feel like I haven't been pregnant very long yet! But I'm so relieved to reach the 24 week milestone! :)

I haven't taken a belly pic in ages, and am not sure when I can get chance! I will if I can. I know that Arthur will NOT let me forget the traditional 28-week one with all the children around me and my littlest on my hip. :) He asks pretty much every week if I'm pregnant enough for "the family picture" yet. I am excited about that picture! It will be the third pregnancy in a row that I've done one, and it's building a sweet run of pictures that show how the children are growing and changing, which I love! :)

Lydia got kicked for the first time, a few weeks ago! She and Elijah were the first to feel this baby kick, other than me. Neil has since felt hiccups, and Arthur and Matthew have felt little tiny taps, but not big kicks yet. Lydia was kneading my tummy while Elijah, who asks to see my "big tummy" every single day, was having his viewing of my tummy while we sat on the sofa having a cuddle. She came over and squashed it about this way and that. I've been telling her there's a baby inside, but how could she really know?! ;) Anyway, baby sister kicked Lydia right on her hand, and she snatched it back with a sharp gasp, like she'd been stung, lol! She stared with wide eyes and open mouth at my tummy for a few moments, and then turned the same expression to me, for some reassurance I guess! I asked her if she had felt the baby move, and she said yes, in total amazement! ;) Now, on Elijah's daily viewings (!), she comes over and points to my tummy, and then says very seriously, "Baby. Baby indide." Yes, lovey, there is! :D She still can't understand until the baby arrives, of course, but it's a start! ;)

Lydia will be 2 next month. I have never had a two-year-old who is about to have a baby sibling before, except for those who are about to get their SECOND baby sibling! ;) Lydia will be two and will have never had a younger sibling before, which is totally new territory for us. She is more advanced and more aware therefore, than her brothers were when I was pregnant and due to have a baby, being that bit older. A few more months will make even more difference to her development. It's weird to me, lol! I'm used to much shorter age gaps! I hope it will be okay...

I am still in absolute awe that I am having another girl! So delighted, and just honestly shaking my head with disbelief that God has been THIS good to me! We were on a long drive last weekend to see family, and Neil and I were finalising the baby's name (or so we thought, lol!). Then we were quiet for a while, and there was a crazy huge influx of motorbikes coming down the motorway. Neil is practically obsessed with motorbikes, and military, and cars, and football. The boys (all of them) are following in his footsteps, shrieking with joy over the sight of motorbikes, asking, "WOW, what car is THAT!" at a fancy or fast car on the road, and having a fairly obsessive interest in military aircraft, which is mainly Arthur's but his enthusiasm for anything is always infectious to his brothers, so they all talk, read and draw about military aircraft every. single. day. NONE of which is a problem, and of course Lydia could share their interests, BUT.... I could not possibly be more bored with each of those subjects! My dad and brother have always been heavily into football, and to my mum it's like nails on chalkboard, lol! From early in childhood I seemed to identify with her over it, and football and cars and other "man" stuff really super irritates me. I just do my own thing when there's football on, and take as little notice as possible for my own sanity, as I did growing up, but now that all the children are joining it, it's impossible to get away from the constant talk of air strikes and code names for planes, and cars and motorbikes, etc. I love their healthy interests, but sometimes I reach a point where I want to SCREAM - it's SO boring!!! Aaaargh! I have some hope that maybe Lydia will be - at last! - someone to keep me company during the absolute boredom of all the male hobbies, lol! I know she might choose their interests too, but I so hope not! ;) Another girl makes me hope for double the companions, hehe!

Anyway, so this parade of motorbikes went on and on, and the boys and Neil got more and more excited about it. I tried to make interested comments and noises for a while but after 20 minutes (there must have been an event they were going to), I was honestly about to lose my MIND with the whole thing, stuck in a van with endless 2-wheeled vehicles and 20 minutes of maintained crazy excitement, mostly from Neil, lol! ;) I got to the, "Yes, yes, it's a BIKE." response stage (!!) and then lay my head back on the head-rest to close my eyes and try to escape. I think I had hormones going on as well, emotionally speaking, so that didn't help! ;) To distract myself while the excitement over parply-noised-vehicles continued, I tried thinking back on our conversation about the new baby and her name. Then suddenly it hit me that I was shortly going to be the mother of TWO daughters. Two girls. My GIRLS - girlzzzz! :D It suddenly was overwhelmingly amazing to me again, and unbelieveably wonderful, and in the face of all the blokey thrill of motorbikes, to suddenly think I would have two daughters growing up by my side with all these boys... I just suddenly choked up with tears right there in the van, thinking how GOOD God has been to me, how gracious and kind, to give me TWO daughters after all these precious sons. I guess he knew I would need them! :P

Well, that's all the time I have, and I am pleased to have been able to write more than I expected! :) I will try to update again like this, and get a picture up sometime soon as well. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and congrats on my newest daughter! :)

Friday, 21 August 2015

20 weeks - I had my scan today!

I meant to update again in the last couple of days before my scan appointment, just to catch up on how things are going (after my last post) and final thoughts on boy or girl stuff! I'm sad that I didn't get chance! But oh well.

Here's my little treasure!


Of course we had the entire scan before they checked to see what gender the baby was - that's the usual procedure. The scan is mainly about checking for abnormalities, and thankfully, there were none! :) The sonographer said that our baby had "the best heart" she had seen all morning! :) It was probably one of the quickest 20 week scans we've ever had, because the sonographer was very efficient and quick, and also the baby was in the perfect position for measurement every time she went to measure any body part! :) She said straight away, "Baby is head down... Little feet up over the top." Ahhh, my precious love! I felt SO in love, just watching. *sigh*

We're always interested in the measurements because we have various body types amongst our children, and we always wonder which type each new baby will favour. I'm 20w4d today (the scan pictures and my report say 20w3d because they are going by the dates on my last scan - only one day out from my own dates, which is negligible, so I'm sticking to my own - I know they are more accurate since I chart!). The baby's abdomen measured 20w5d, so almost spot on! The little leg bones measured 19w5d, which the lady said was pretty spot on really, but I know better, haha! ;) Anyone who has measured less than 20 weeks in the leggie department has ended up with shorter-than-average legs (like their Mummy, unfortunately! Mine are very stumpy!) - Arthur and Benjamin are the two I'm thinking of! ;) Lydia is their body type but her legs weren't as short and still aren't. They're more in proportion to the rest of her (average measurements). Arthur and Benjamin also had slightly bigger tummy measurements, and heads that were bigger than their dates by about a week. This baby has head measurements all pretty much spot on 20w3d to 20w5d. :) Nothing over 21 weeks like those two boys had.

We saw the little kidneys, the heart beating beautifully with all 4 chambers and valves flapping away. We saw the full stomach and full bladder, two beautiful straight little feet (hooray!) crossed at the ankles, beautiful delicate teensy fingers opening and closing gently, and that gorgeous sight of the string of pearls that is the spine. All the brain looked normal, there was skin over the lower spinal cord, the blood flow through the arteries and veins was normal in and out of the heart, the umbilical cord was attached normally and blood flow through it was great. When it came time to check the little upper lip for a hare lip, the baby had shifted to lying on its side, cheek and part of the mouth all smooshed up against me. :) The cheeks weren't at all chubby yet, of course, but the squish was firm enough that the little mouth was pushed open a bit by it. It looked DIVINE - just gorgeous little lips and that beautiful triangle nose that I've seen so many times before. :) We could see one side of the top lip, but the other wasn't visible, and the baby looked so relaxed and happy there. After a while a little arm came up and a hand rested in front of the face so we could see even less! Then the sonographer wiggled the probe gently on my tummy and said, "Come on, little one! Let us see your mouth..." and almost as if in response, the arm moved down, the little chin was lifted, and the mouth became visible really clearly (no hare lip!). The sonographer said, "Thank you, little one!" and I fell in love that bit more than I already was before. :)

There was a sweet moment in the scan where I saw what looked like the baby putting a little hand to its mouth, which I remembered my heart melting at during scans with my other babies (although not all of them did). The little mouth was opening and closing a little, and I commented on how sweet it was with the little hand to the mouth like that. Then the sonographer told me that actually the baby was sucking its foot, lol! ;) I don't think we've ever seen that at a scan before! ;) She said the baby was sort of bent double at that moment, with the feet up over the face, and a little hand above the head, and the other by its side. Ahhhh, my heart-strings! I love this little one! :)

She moved on to processing the images she'd gathered, and I began to worry that she wasn't going to even suggest checking the gender, because we hadn't mentioned it, and that she'd switch it all off and say goodbye or something, lol! A worrying moment! ;) But thankfully she said, "Are you wanting to know what you're having?" and I said, "We are... yes, please!" So she went straight to the "potty shot" as it's referred to so often! She was zooming in and out, trying to get the right depth for a still shot to clearly look, and all I could see was nothing protruding in particular, but I didn't see any lines or anything like that. She froze the image at last, and so I knew that was IT - the "there it is!" answer to the big question, but even with alllll the gender ultrasounds I'd laid eyes on, I didn't immediately see a clear gender! After a moment I realised that there was nothing - NOTHING - between those legs, and then the sonographer broke the silence by saying, "There are three lines - do you see?" And she pointed to three not-that-clear-but-definitely-there white lines, and said, "It looks like a little girl!" As she shifted the image again, we got a better view of proper girly bits with the labia as well, so that was much more reassuring to see! I knew - ABSOLUTELY KNEW - that it was a girl, but even so I was overwhelmed and stunned and just lost for words, that I have actually managed to conceive a girl, AGAIN!!! :D I felt quite emotional and tearful, even though it wasn't the same as the utterly mind-blowing experience of last time, finding out that we were expecting a girl for the very first time! ;)

It was weird because that was suddenly the end of the scan, and we had to wait for a few minutes in a very busy and close-seated waiting room with bored people looking at us (we must have looked "interesting" as I couldn't stop smiling and my eyes were probably all shiny, and I was clutching the photos above in my hand!). I wanted so much to talk to Neil about it, but I knew my voice would be too loud and squeaky because of The Overwhelmingness and the excitement and joy, and it was really hushed in that waiting room! So we waited, and then the sonographer came out with my notes, and then we went back to the car through busy corridors and in packed lifts. Everything felt way too normal and run-of-the-mill, paying for the parking at the machine, and we were almost at the car when I began to be out of breath keeping up with Neil's swift longer-legged pace, and suddenly said, "I can't keep up! Can you slow down because I've got a - (and then sudden excited squeally voice!) BABY **GIRL**  ON MY BLADDER!!!!" haha! It just erupted, and from that point on I was bubbling over with excitement and constant, "I can't believe it!" and "It's a GIRRRRLLL!!! I'm so happyyyyy!" and so on, all the way home! ;)

I phoned my parents from the car, before we even pulled out of the hospital. They are on their way to England (they live in France) to visit US!!! :) They haven't been to visit us personally in what feels like years - I think the last time was after Lydie was born. *sigh* I wish they would come and see us more often. Anyway, they are only just coming to see our new home, and we've been here a year in about a week's time! They were in the process of driving up France to catch a ferry across the Channel, and I knew I had to tell them the news before the got on the ferry otherwise there would be no signal until they docked (late in the evening). So I phoned them as soon as I possibly could, and they were thrilled to hear they would be having another granddaughter! :) They are staying with friends over the weekend, and coming to us on Monday and Tuesday before going back home. I just can't WAIT to see them! :)

On the way home, I made Neil stop at the shops because I wanted to pick up something that would be a cute way to announce to the boys when we got home. Nicola was babysitting all 7 of them because the hospital here won't allow children of any age in the scan room. She's a star - she brought her three little boys, so she was watching ten children ages ten and under! And everything went well, which was a relief! :) So thankful, because Neil was able to come with me to the scan - the first and only one this pregnancy that he's been able to attend. It was really nice to share that together.

He was very smiley, by the way, after we found out the baby is a girl, but not very verbal! ;) He says he is really pleased that it's a girl - he so wanted Lydie to have a sister, and now she does! :) He is doing better at the moment (bit of an aside to update on last entry), and thus so am I. He hasn't sought help yet, and I don't know if he will, but I'm grateful for the lift in the difficulties at the moment. I find his depression difficult to deal with (in answer to Valerie's question) because coping with a spouse's depressive illness is REALLY hard. There are support groups, I found out! And I read that in many ways it can be harder on the spouse than the depressed person, even. And that statistically, up to 50% of wives of depressed husbands end up suffering from depression of their own whilst trying to cope with their husband's. It's just really hard, even without the demands on me of a large family and pregnancy, and my own tank being completely empty. Anyway. It's easier right at the moment, and we feel "back to normal" in our relationship again. I hesitated to say "for now", but I'd rather just not focus on that, and enjoy the improvement. :) Thanks so much for the prayers and the very supportive comments last entry!

So, we went to the shops and ended up buying a pink teddy with "Baby" and "Girl" written across its feet, and a pink helium filled balloon with "Here come the girls" written on it! ;) When I saw it, I wanted it because I suddenly wanted to take a photo of Lydia holding it, as a way of announcing. Right now she's "the girl", but I loved the idea of "here come THE GIRLS"!!! :) We bought a balloon box so we could hide the things in there for a surprise when we got home, and the headed back. All the way I was just, "Oooooh, it's a GIRL!!!! I can't believe it's a GIRL!!!" to Neil, haha! ;)

We got home and straight away they wanted to know what was in the box. When they were all gathered around (Nicola's boys too), I opened the box and let them lift the plastic bag off the surface, and up floated the balloon. They all went nuts grabbing for it (forgot to think about the fact that the balloon itself might be a bit of an overwhelming over-stimulation for some of them, whoops!) and in the huge load of noise and movement I can't remember who started yelling, "It's a GIRL!" or something along those lines, but I think it was either Arthur or Matthew. :) ALL six of the boys have been longing for the baby to be another girl, and I was getting a bit worried that if it did turn out to be a boy, they'd end up disappointed! But they are just beside themselves with joy over the news! :D

I handed the teddy to the nearest calm child (only Benjamin fitted that category, lol! He's generally calm, shy, and steady by nature, so wasn't leaping for the balloon and making noise). Benjamin was standing by my side, so I gave it to him, and before I could even explain that it said "baby girl" on its feet, he was whispering to me earnestly, "Rosie is a nice name... we could call her Rosie..." I LOVE that because Rose and Rosalie are on our short list, and the boys don't know the names we're considering. :) I have no idea where that came from, but he has said the same thing to me much earlier in my pregnancy, and I remember telling him that yes, it was a nice name, but that it might not even be a girl, so we'd have to wait and see! He still remembered it, and it was the first thing he wanted to communicate to me after we announced the news! Weirdly (I'm SURE he hasn't talked to his brothers about it), when I went to tuck Nathan and Arthur in at bedtime, Nathan suddenly said, "What would you have called the baby if it was a boy?" On the way to the scan, Neil had said to me, "You'd better prepare yourself... in case it's a boy..." I knew that he didn't expect me to be disappointed, but he could see how very much I was SURE it was a girl, and thus had my hopes quite high for a second daughter, so he was trying to protect me. In that moment I told him about how I had quite fallen in love with the image of this baby as a fluffy-haired little baby boy, and that I loved the name Charlie for him, and he instantly said yes, that would be a great name for the baby is it was a boy. So it would definitely have been Charlie, if it was a boy. :)

So, I told Nathan that the baby would have been called Charlie, and straight away he said, "That name does NOT fit with our family rhyme." ;) I said, "What family rhyme?!" and Arthur piped up from his top bunk, "You know, the family rhyme - 'Ar-thur, Matth-ew, Na-than, Benja-min, Sam-uel, Elijah, Lydia..." and Nathan finished for him, "... Charlie. It doesn't go with our family rhyme." His tone was so serious and final, it just amused me somewhat to listen to them talk about it! ;) And I LOVE that they call the list of their names "The Family Rhyme", bless their hearts! So sweet! We have enough children that when you say all their names together it sounds like a verse of sorts! :D

Arthur said that he felt that Charlie belonged in the stories of books he reads, but that Solomon goes very well with our family rhyme! I think that was the name he was hoping we might choose, actually, given that he's dropped hints with it before! ;)

THEN, Nathan, having been all quiet and thoughtful while Arthur was talking to me, suddenly said, "Rosie goes well with our family rhyme..." and Arthur gasped and said, "Oh YES! Or Rose!" and then, "Is that one of the names you might choose from?" and I had to tell him that yes, it was - that and Rosalie, which is just a more girly-sounding version of Rose. Arthur hugged himself with glee and said how pretty Rosalie was, and how it was "like a combination of Rose, Rosie, and.... Lee?!" ;)

Soooo, watch this space! Neil and I both feel more attached to the names Rose and Rosalie now that we know that three of our children have out-of-the-blue suggested or really loved the names (or variants). I don't recall that any of the children have suggested any other names, even! And they are already names on our very short shortlist! But we're not 100% sold on ANY of the names yet, and I don't know how long it will take us to choose the "right" one. I have looked at literally 600 girls names, and only these ones have currently made my shortlist (the middle name will be Averil (even though it means "boar battle", lol!!) after Neil's mum) - I've put the meanings by them. Meanings are important to me, but not many of them have "strong" meanings to me... my least favourite is probably Sophie, and so far my favourite has been Charlotte, but Neil's favourite is Sophie, and his least favourite is Charlotte, lol! He also just said, "Grace... no, she'll be naughty..." and vetoed it on that basis, haha! ;) This is my own shortlist, but honestly I have looked at All The Names - lots of them very lovely, but I've narrowed it down to these which I like enough to use on my own daughter. Probably. ;)

* Charlotte Averil  (feminine of Charles - "free man")
* Hannah Averil  (grace)
* Ivy Averil   (plant name - ivy)
* Isabelle Averil  (devoted (or pledged) to God - I like this!)
* Grace Averil  (grace)
* Maisie Averil  (form of Margaret, meaning "pearl")
* Rose Averil  (flower name - rose)
* Rosalie Averil  (variant of "rose")
* Sophie Averil  (wisdom)

Wow, it is suddenly really late! I will post the three photos I chose of the many I took of Lydia, to announce our new daughter on Facebook (cruelly, 45 minutes AFTER I posted "Back from my scan! :) Beautiful healthy baby, measuring spot on for dates. I will post a pic in a bit! For anyone who was waiting to know the "big news" - it's another..." Ahh-ha-ha-haaa! :D I know that was SO mean of me! Hee hee! Something Neil and I thought of as we got home! ;) ).

Thursday, 13 August 2015

19 weeks pregnant!

Waaaay too long since my last entry here! Sorry! Thanks for the comments and emails, I really appreciate you guys asking if I'm okay, and sending me well wishes. :)

I need to write a proper update but I am just SO TIRED. My morning sickness eased up at 16 weeks for good, yay! I have had the odd queasy evening since, but nothing in the last two weeks at all, so I am still going to say 16 weeks for when it went away this pregnancy.

We were all ill for AGES with that horrible coldy virus that I was suffering from last time I wrote (at 15 weeks). I am STILL coughing, but very occasionally now, at least. My energy is returning and I'm so thrilled about that! I really can't wait for all the hormones to kick in and get me organised, active and efficient. Pregnancy is my best time of life for these things, and I know it is coming soon! :) Been missing that zap for a couple of years now! ;)

I can't even think straight about summarising the last 4 weeks... I'm trying but I am just tired out. Neil is away today and tomorrow, visiting his mum in hospital. It's only August but I started school with the boys last week (which did not go well!) and this week is much better already. They have had a LONG break from formal lessons, intentionally. We have been unschooling, but I finally couldn't stand them not having instruction in the 3 Rs a moment longer, so we're back at it! ;)

I am not sleeping great at all. Mostly just insomnia like I have had in the past with pregnancies - I just can't get to sleep until 2 or 3am. OR, I am increasingly likely to be exhausted enough to fall asleep nursing Lydia at bedtime, which is GOOD because then I get a super duper early night and catch up on some sleep, right? Well, it works until I wake after about 4 or 5 hours and THEN I can't sleep again for at least 3 hours. I usually doze off after it has got light, an hour-ish before the little ones wake up. I am having some trouble with Restless Leg Syndrome but it's not awful, yet. Some nights my feet have been just burning up and that alone keeps me awake, so I put them up on the wall as vertically as I can, lol! That brings enough relief after maybe 20 minutes, for me to be able to settle and try to sleep again. I'm not even hugely pregnant yet! :S

I am feeling more hormonal and weepy and overwhelmed than I feel is familiar from previous pregnancies, although I have had bouts of such feelings in all my pregnancies from time to time. Neil is depressed at the moment and I am not handling it too well. His issues are long, long-term, and I'm feeling pretty worn down right now. I am crying a lot, which I don't normally do hardly ever. Marriage is a strain when things are like this. I will probably regret even writing this much where people can read it, but I'm tired and just... saying stuff, and so there it is. There ARE better times! :)

My little one is wiggly and active, still with the very tiny little pops and kicks. I can see the movements on my tummy now, and feel them with my hand, but nobody else has had the chance yet. Neil isn't interested, and the kicks are mostly when I relax in the evening after the boys are in bed, so they haven't had the chance to feel them. They are still very light to the touch with a hand, but so lovely! The boys will be so excited! :)

I got a 16 week (almost 17) belly pic, which I haven't uploaded yet, and really really need to take another (I planned to at 18 weeks, but missed it). I can't believe I will be 20 weeks pregnant - halfway there, already!!! - in just 4 days! Tomorrow is Friday, and that is one week exactly until my scan! :) I have such an overwhelmingly strong feeling that this baby is definitely a girl - more than I ever have with any of my other pregnancies, but maybe it's just because I have had a girl now (so I know it's possible, lol!) and perhaps I am letting myself be too influenced by what LOOKED like a girly nub at the last scan... I had a mushy moment this evening when the baby was kicking, laying my hand on my tummy. I was overwhelmed with love in the softest part of my heart, for this baby, and I knew I wanted to just cry with joy imagining if the baby I was laying my hand on was a boy. So, I know I will be happy with a boy, if I'm wrong. :) Maybe I will be... I can almost picture him already, and yesterday I seriously needed protein for lunch for the first time this pregnancy. I wanted egg, beans, cheese, ANYTHING protein-y all on one plate, haha! That's a first, which is unusual for a boy pregnancy, but the protein desire itself is a boy thing for me, so.... The fact that I have spent my first 19 weeks not interested in protein much is DEFINITELY a girl thing for me. Maybe I just needed some extra protein this week for whatever the little one is working on in there? I just can't wait to find out! :)

We have no name ideas yet. Well, *I* do! :) I have a favourite, and a second and third favourite, but Neil isn't sold on any of them yet. He hasn't vetoed them - they are "okay", but he hasn't come up with any himself yet. We didn't name Lydia until we knew she was a girl - we didn't even start looking at names until then. So we have plenty of time!

Okay, I am too tired, so I will stop and go to bed. I will try not to leave it so long!

Monday, 13 July 2015

15 weeks pregnant!

It's been a week and a half so I had better update again! :) I'm feeling horrible with a coldy-achy-sinusy-throaty lurgy tonight, which Neil had and then Matthew, Nathan and Samuel this weekend. It is kicking my butt tonight and I feel yuck. Lydia just woke up full of snot, so I guess she is next! The other three boys are okay for now. They have just got over an adenovirus which took them a few weeks to cycle through (didn't affect Neil and I), so it's starting to feel like a long time that we've been kicking round some form of sore throat or cough or general malaise!! Can't wait to be better!

The good news, I *think*, is that my morning sickness is suddenly improving rapidly! In past pregnancies, when I get a virus of any sort, morning sickness somehow seems to improve, or even disappear while I'm unwell, and then as I start to improve it comes back in. So I can't say it's cleared up - maybe it's just because I'm unwell? But it was improving these last few days! I was only feeling sick before a meal, although it lingered after eating too. Still a big improvement!! :) I can't drink normal water yet (that's the true test - that and biting my fingers/nails - yuck, I know!), but today I did take some paracetamol with a small glass of TAP WATER! I just couldn't bear to swallow it with a strong fizz of sparkling water (which I'm getting bored of, but at least it doesn't make me feel nauseous!) on my sore throat, so I got a glass of water and just downed it quick. I did feel a wave of nausea as a result, but I noticed it was very mild compared with how it used to make me feel, so I'm cautiously optimistic! :) I was 15 weeks when my morning sickness with Lydia went away, though all the other pregnancies have had very different gestations for my morning sickness to clear up, so we'll see. I also chewed my little fingernail off (sigh) last night with zero consequences, while watching a movie, so maybe... In any case, it is getting much more bearable, which is always the case after 14 weeks, and I'm SO THANKFUL to have reached this stage at last! It seemed to last forever, but actually now that I'm here, it has gone pretty fast. :)

I am still just about able to lie on my front to sleep, and dreading when I can't, because I am such a tummy sleeper! I can sleep on my side or back too, but when I'm pregnant I get real trouble with hot feet, and restless leg syndrome which is UNBEARABLE and keeps me awake for hours. If I lie on my front, I can get to sleep quickly. If I can't, it's hours and hours of misery lying awake. It makes that big a difference, and I know that pretty soon I will not be able to get comfortable with my bump lying on my front. Some nights it is uncomfortable now, and I have to move to my side instead, but it seems to depend on the baby's position. I can sometimes feel the firm shape of a little back pressed out against my tummy now! :) Still low, below my tummy button (my uterus nearly came right to my tummy button this morning though - the highest yet! - though it usually is a couple of inches below still), but bigger than palm size. My hand - fingers to wrist, can cup it comfortably. :) At 13 weeks, my baby measured just over 7cm from head to bottom, so two weeks later I am guessing that that shape and size in my palm is about right for the little curve of a back. :)

I am not feeling much in the way of movements. This baby is super calm and quiet, compared with most of my others, though I think someone (Samuel??) was calm and quiet too. If it was Samuel, he was THE most laid-back and snuggly gorgeous baby, my easiest little baby for sure. As a newborn, he would wake, feed, sleep on my chest for 4 hours, repeat. Occasionally poo. As he got a bit older, he changed it to, wake, feed, coo and smile and be happy and delightful, sleep (preferably on me, as he loved to snuggle). Occasionally poo. ;) I don't know if his early fetal behaviour had any connection to his behaviour as a baby, but if it did - WOOHOO!! ;) A calm and laid-back baby would be wonderful! I am nervous about surviving colic again, but I'm still here after several colicky babies, so I guess we'll make it either way! ;)

So I don't feel many movements, and if I do, I am usually lying VERY still on my back or reclining. Then I might feel a TEENSY pop to my tummy, or a sensation of "something" moving ever so slightly. Or a tiny little squirm. That's it! Maybe my placenta is anterior, but I think this little one is just not the big mover that some of its siblings have been! Only 2 weeks further on from this gestation, Matthew gave my hip such a kick that my bottom shifted sideways on the chair I was sitting on, haha! He's the same today at age 9, one hundred percent! ;) Yesterday was the strongest movement I've felt from this baby so far. Neil sneezed particularly loudly, and it gave me a sudden jolt of adrenaline as I jumped. Within seconds, I felt two little tiny pop-like taps slightly to the left of centre, a couple of inches above my pubic bone. That's about as fired up as my little one seems to get at the moment - from a quick burst of adrenaline! ;) So at least I'm feeling movements, even if they're teeny and not very frequent yet.

My bleeding picked up again early last week. Still old blood, but heavier, and a bit more reddish than before. I'm so easily anxious about the bleeding now! A couple of mornings later, I woke up and lay there in bed for a moment, and just fractionally tensed my abs without thinking, and instantly a lot of blood came out, so I ran for the loo. I thought it was another big bleed starting, but thankfully it was old blood, and it settled down after a short while, though it made me a bit crampy in the meantime. Today is the first day that I have had minimal brown spotting - almost nothing at all this afternoon! :D I'm excited, as it's been weeks since I had almost nothing in the way of spotting or bleeding, but it has now been 3 times in a row that it has got to that point (or even completely stopped spotting) for anywhere between one day and a few days, and then a sudden big bleed again. So I am paranoid and can't relax about it (or dare to go without a pad!) yet.

Elijah (3) seems to be having a crisis of realisation at the moment. Last week he came over to talk to me (standing up), and his head is almost at my bump height now (he is teeny weeny, but also I have short legs, ha!). He looked up to talk to me, and there was a bump in the way of his normal view, lol! His face was a picture! He put his hands on it, and then asked why my tummy was like that, and when I told him it was the baby growing inside, he wanted to move my top and jeans so he could see my tummy properly. When I shifted my waistband for him, his eyes went round! He seemed happy and smiled and patted my bump, and has talked about the baby growing pretty much every day since, but suddenly today he said that he didn't want the baby to come out. He was huffy and grumpy and didn't want to make eye contact, and certainly wasn't happy about the baby inside! ;) So this is new! I don't think we've had this before, even with all our children we've had. Maybe I'm just forgetting someone in the old memory banks, but it doesn't seem familiar to me at all. In the end, he got that that the baby would HAVE to come out eventually, all the same. But he said he wanted to "leab it here, and we all go to turts." - which, translated, means he wants us to leave the baby at home while we all go to church!! Hmmm! We talked about how the baby might feel lonely or sad, or need Mummy, or milky, or a cuddle, like he would if it was him left at home while the rest of us went to church (as if?!!!)!! So he seemed to get that, but still seemed unimpressed with the whole thing! He also asked how the baby even got in my tummy (I told him Daddy put a seed in my tummy and it grew into a baby), and then why Daddy had to go and put a seed in there, haha! ;) He was pretty grumpy about it! But I am hopeful that he'll come around over the months. There's plenty of time, and everyone else is HIGHLY enthusiastic, so that's going to help, I think! It's always the 3 year old who has the issues, every single time! Even if he's already got a younger sibling. They never (EVER) have issues before age 2, with a new sibling. I love the small gaps! :)

Okay, Lydia is waking again, so I think I will call it a night. Back soon!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

13 weeks, 4 days - scan update! :)

I'm sorry I didn't update yesterday! It's past 1am here, but I fell asleep nursing Lydia to sleep, and woke at midnight to a spectacular storm. Torrential rain and frequent lightning - so fun to watch! THEN I felt sick, so I had to eat a sandwich and basically as many peaches as I can tolerate. Peaches are a serious thing for me this pregnancy, and I'm so thankful they are in season! :) For a couple of weeks (maybe 3??) I have been eating 3 or 4 a day if we have them. They quench my thirst and taste amaaazing, and make me feel better quite quickly from the nausea, even if it doesn't last all that long.

Anyway, so I should be getting back to bed, but I realised I hadn't updated, and wanted to. The thunder is pretty loud so if it wakes someone I'll have to finish this tomorrow.

So, my scan actually ARRIVED!!! So surreal! :) I forgot to drink much beforehand, so when the scan started, the sonographer said that my bladder wasn't very full and the baby wasn't in the best position for measuring. After a few minutes of seeing my tiny one (no glimpses of the nub, even!), she sent me out for 15-20 minutes to drink some more and see if my bladder filled a bit more.

Before the scan, driving to the hospital, I became irrationally nervous because I realised I hadn't felt the baby move for 3 or 4 days. I have marked little footprints on my chart on days where I felt the baby move, and I haven't had more than 2 days without one since starting to feel movements weeks ago. So I started to get nervous, and wished that I had had time to use my Doppler that morning for peace of mind. I was praying about it as I drove, and thought that the upside was that if my baby was alive and well, and had a boy nub, I would be 100% rejoicing that he was alive and well, NOT focusing on the fact that it was another boy! ;) I definitely was longing for a girl nub sighting, you know? I feel bad admitting it, and you know I would absolutely adore having a seventh boy (I mean, HOW blessed?!?!), but with my sort of "hunch" about the baby being a girl (or wishful thinking?!), I have rather latched onto the idea of a sister for my only daughter, and another baby girl to delight in for us ALL, and the fact that all the boys are hoping it's a girl, and Neil has said how nice it would be if this baby is a girl, and HOW I would love to use the phrase, "My girls." *heart swell* :)

But the one thing I really didn't want was to feel disappointment over that sweet little angled nub, if that's what I saw in the end. REALLY didn't. It felt so wrong to have ANY disappointment over a gift - a true gift - from God himself! So I prayed. And I was breathless with excitement and anticipation by the time I went in for my scan!

When she started the scan, the sonographer said that she would have a quick look for herself for a moment, and then if all was well, she would switch my screen on so I could watch. I don't think I drew breath in those few seconds before she said, "Little heart ticking away there!" Aaannnd relax! :) Then I was back with the focus of spotting that nub! So, like I said, I saw no sign of a nub in the first few minutes. When I came back, the baby was still in the same awkward position, but the sonographer said my bladder was a little bit more full so the visibility was better, and she might have to send me out again if the baby didn't change position, but she got on with the scan all the same.

The baby was lying on its back sort of up the side of the sac, with its bottom up at the top, lol! Little arms kept doing slow content movements up over the head and in front of the face. So sweet! The sonographer didn't want the little bottom up high because it made measuring the length of the baby (to date the pregnancy) more difficult. She wiggled the scan probe against my tummy over and over, and you could see the little one being jiggled about, but absolutely calm and laid-back, didn't move at ALL, other than the odd stretch, lol! Very laid-back baby, one of my most laid-back, I think. And possibly stubborn... which *certainly* isn't in the gene pool... :P

My eyes were straining, straaaaiiiining, for any sign of a nub. The first flash-through glimpse I got was of an angled (45 degree, pretty indisputable!) "thing" near the right area. I'm delighted that I didn't get a sinking heart feeling, I just thought, well that's that, then! :) I was really eager to get more views to confirm it, so I watched eagerly. I didn't get another view for a while, as the sonographer was also looking at the huge haematoma which is a big crescent shaped area around the gestational sac. It doesn't seem any smaller at all, but she said not to be too anxious about it, because it's almost all black on the scan now, which is the same as the amniotic fluid, and means it's liquefied. She said that it will do that before it reabsorbs, so I'm hopeful that it will now clear up. I am bleeding quite a lot at the moment, every day. It is all dark brown and more liquid (sorry!), so that concurs with what she found, and I'm hopeful that it means the haematoma is going to be reducing soon, with the bleeding out and the possible reabsorption. Anyway, it's still very large for now, but apparently not bothering the baby! :)

THEN I saw a great profile shot. She said she would print it out for my picture (ONE PICTURE FOR £5!!!!!), and pointed out the little hand near the baby's tummy, and then sort of cross-sectioned through the baby a little bit to show me the other hand up and over the baby's head, and THAT'S when I saw the nub really clearly. Not the 45 degree thing I had seen before (she showed me the umbilical cord going down and then under the baby's legs round the bottom), but a flat white line with no angle - NO ANGLE, people!!!! I almost gasped, but managed not to because I would have looked odd, since I don't think she had any idea, lol! The only thing was that it was slightly awkward being sure of that non-angle, because of the baby's bottom being tilted up the side of the sac - I sort of had to twist my head to see it right - and also, I had Lydia's VERY clear nub etched in my mind's eye, and this one was more grainy as an image, and not as clear or very obvious as Lydia's was. So it made me second-guess now and then as I watched. But every time I saw it, there was no angle! Definitely a flat nub. Forked at the end, and I couldn't remember if that meant anything boyish, but there was no denying it was a girly nub, and I could hardly breathe for excitement and disbelief thinking that I was 13 weeks and 3 days, looking at a girly nub - almost a certainty that this baby was a girl!

But TWO girls in a row?!! After six boys in a row?!! Could it possibly even BE?!!!

So I still do, somehow, have this disbelief thing going on! ;) The sonographer was very kind and gave me THREE pictures! :) She put two behind the first one and said not to show them! There was a moment where the baby put a little hand in front of its (I can't bring myself to say "her" quite yet - have to wait for that gender scan!) face, and I said, "Awww, so sweet!" So she printed me one of that too. :) The images were more grainy and zoomed in than some of my previous scans at my old hospital, and it turned out that NONE of the three pictures gave a very good view of the nub, but here they are anyway. Little monkey stayed with bottom up in the air most of the time, despite me turning onto my left side for a minute, and then back, and then my right side for a minute, etc. And all the jiggling with the probe! ;) There was a slightly flatter position for a moment and the sonographer used that time to measure the length, which was 71.something millimetres, and thus a gestation of 13 weeks and 2 days. I said I was sure I was 13 weeks and 3 days, and she said that was pretty much what the scan showed, but that they will go with a due date based on the scan rather than my dates from now on. Which is January 5th - my great-grandmother's 119th birthday. :) If it IS a girl and she's born on her due date, it would be so sweet to name her Emma (my great-grandmother's name), but I don't think we would, as Neil's sister has two daughters called Ella and Emily, and I can just see my lips tripping over each other at family gatherings and calling for Emmallamily to hold Elimma's hand or something. :P

Anyway, I am sticking to my ovulation based due date of Jan 4th. The previous hospital used to only change the due date if it was outside of 2 days from your original date. I am okay with them *thinking* I'm due on the 5th though, because it gives me an extra day to go past my due date! :)

Here are the pics of my sweet treasure-baby!

Little hand over face!...

The third photo is the position that the baby finally got into (hardly much change, but enough!) to measure the length.

So, the nub in the first photo is hard to see, but I *think* it is that little button-y thing poking out between the buttocks. Not 100% sure though. If it is, it's a girl, pointing down and out like that. :)

The second photo has a pretty good view of the nub, but none of them are as good as Lydia's white stick of a nub - really really visible in those pictures at that link there! :) Anyway, the second photo above shows a little white line near the lowest part of the tummy with a little white "forked" pair of lines at the end of it, and that is definitely the nub. Since the lines are all pointing off towards the legs, I am really hopeful that it means GIRL! :) The third photo doesn't show the end of the nub, but you can see a white line (maybe slight fork further down it) parallel to the spine, pretty much. If it's a girl it should be parallel to the spine. Any angling up means boy, generally. I really did not see the slightest bit of angling on this baby's nub, and because of my experience last time, I am hesitantly very confident that I'm having another GIIIIIRRRRL!!! I can't believe it, but I know (again from experience!) that it will sink in! I can't wait for my next scan to confirm it. It is booked for August 21st, when I will be 20.5 weeks. Cannot WAIT! I want to yell, "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! IT'S A GIIIIIRRRRLLLLL!!!!" again, and plan names and pinkness, and squeal a lot with 100% confidence, etc! But I am honestly so confident from what I saw. I posted the pics at ingender, of course (before even updating Facebook, haha!) and have had no boy guesses. I even had one of the experts respond, saying girl! :) Yay, yay, yaaaay!

I absolutely squealed in the car on the way home, lol! And I stopped off - I just HAD to - at the shopping centre near home, to buy myself a yummy sandwich and Belgian bun, try on some clothes (haven't had the chance to do that for YEARS!), and nip into Tesco, where I found myself *uncontrollably* buying sparkly nail polish and a newborn-sized sleepsuit that I passed and HAD to have, with "Little Sister" in silver lettering on the front! I know I am a crazy woman (this is one of the things you love most about me, right?! :P ), but who cares - it was only £5 and, as I said to Neil afterwards, I will gift it, return it, or stroke it longingly on a daily basis, if this baby does turn out to be a boy, ha! ;)

Neil was not with me for the scan, for the first time EVER at a regular scan, because we had nobody to watch the children, and even if we found someone to watch them, Lydia is absolutely inconsolable at this age with anyone outside of family. Some of our other toddlers have been like that, but where we used to live, they didn't have a policy about children in the scan rooms, so we always took our youngest (sometimes several youngest!) with us. This hospital, as well as being stingy with the photos (though the actual sonographer was very sweet and generous!), have an absolute rule of NO CHILDREN in the scan room, and "only one person to accompany the patient"!!! Tsk. So we are stuck. I really hate for Neil to miss these scans, because although he's not very connected to the babies when I'm pregnant, and thus doesn't mind missing them, that's the very reason I WANT him to be there, because it's a rare opportunity for him to actually CONNECT and maybe feel something towards the baby, or the pregnancy in general. :( There's only one scan left, and I am hoping (planning?!) to be able to find someone to watch the children, including Lydia, who I really hope will not be 100% miserable or difficult for whoever is watching them, so that Neil can be with me to see our little one, and find out for sure what we are having. It was weird getting home and him having to ask what I thought the baby was, and then saying, "Really?!!" when I said I thought it was a girl. I feel sad that we didn't get to see, talk about, and process together at the time. Also I was accosted by boys asking, "Did you see the nub?!!" and "Is it a girl?!! I feel SURE it's a girl!! Is it, is it?!!" as I was still closing the front door, let alone having had a moment to privately tell the baby's own daddy! Sweet that they are so excited and eager, but I felt a bit sad that it wasn't BOTH parents' experience, that's all.

So, I told the boys that it looks very much like another girl, but that we HAVE to wait until the next scan. I wondered if I should say, because their hopes are UP - they've been longing for another sister, and what if I'm wrong and it's a boy?! What damage will I have done by telling them?! But honestly, the nub was so obviously a girly one... I waited until the "expert" at ingender said girl, and then I told them. I don't think Arthur, Matthew or Nathan could have stood waiting even a day, let alone until the next scan! Arthur was ready to grab the pictures and study the angle of the nub himself, lol! He knows all about these things! ;) So I showed them the sleepsuit and they were so excited. :) I told them it COULD still be a boy, and we must wait and see at the next scan to be sure. I really don't think it's a boy though... :)

I am still feeling sick, but I think there's definite "lifting" of the heaviness of the nausea in the last few days. I'm nearly 14 weeks now, and sometimes I have had another 8-10 weeks of morning sickness yet (aaargghh!), but in all my pregnancies that have had nausea beyond 14 weeks, that mark is always a point of the intensity of the nausea becoming way more manageable, even if it goes on for a while. Nearly there!!! :) Lydia's was gone around 15 weeks.

It's REALLY late now so I am going back to bed. If I think of anything I have missed, I will update again! :)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

13 weeks, 2 days - scan tomorrow!

So much that I wanted to make note of, and I just keep not having time, or else I'm too tired in the evening to stay up and write.

I'm in my 2nd trimester!!! Yay!

I still feel sick, no change yet, although I did wonder today and maybe yesterday, if the gaps between the horrid nausea before mealtimes might be SLIGHTLY less grim... It's not terrible, like the early weeks were, but it can get pretty unpleasant when I need to eat a proper meal, or mid-morning if I didn't eat a filling enough breakfast. I feel sick most of the time. Tonight we had burgers with onion in them, so I'm nervously anticipating the next few days! Onion in any form (especially in large amounts) seems to make me feel horribly sick for the next three days, like last pregnancy. So I have mostly avoided it. Last time I accidentally ate it was in a Tesco ready meal - ridiculous amount of onions, it was fairly unpalatable really. Ate it anyway, and I wish I hadn't because I had three horrible days! I don't think there was much onion in the burgers so I'm hoping I'll get away with it!

My belly has suddenly popped, literally overnight. The night I was 12 weeks and 3 days pregnant, I had to get up for a wee in the night FOUR times. That was the maximum I'd had to deal with - the previous few nights were building up to it, 2-3 trips per night. The previous week was about once a night, occasionally not at all, so I could tell there was significant growth and restricted space going on in week 12! ;) Also I remembered from my previous pregnancies that it was somewhere around that time that my womb had popped out of my pelvis, along with increased discomfort and night weeing before it, and relief after. The night I was 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant, when I woke the next morning, I realised I had not had to get up once for a wee! :) Such a contrast to the previous few nights! So I wondered, but didn't really think about it again until later in the day when Neil pointed to my tummy and said it had REALLY grown today, and I looked down and there it was - a proper pregnant belly! :) It was early evening and we were trying to round kiddies up in the garden to get ready for bed, but Arthur took a photo for me:

It should show up bigger if you click on it. I think I prefer Photobucket to blogger's own photo uploady thing, for the way they display the photos on the blog, but oh well. This was quicker tonight. So there is my bump! :) Twelve weeks and 5 days. I'm so excited to be pregnant!! I meant to post it at the time, but here I am several days later and only just getting around to it. I also wanted to post a picture of my completed wall chart that I made for myself to get through the first 6 weeks of morning sickness, colouring in the days in rainbow colours as they went by. I can't believe I have completed it already! I haven't got around to taking a photo though. I have drawn a little footprint above the days where I have felt the baby move. :) Not every day, but most, since 9 weeks and 5 days. :) I haven't noticed much movement in the last couple of days, but hopefully everything is fine. I haven't had time to get my Doppler out since I last had cause to with bleeding.

This evening I had another "surge" of bleeding, but it wasn't too heavy, and I was VASTLY reassured to see that it was brown, not even slightly red. So I'm hoping the old blood is coming away and there won't be much left to see at the scan tomorrow.

My scan is TOMORROW!!!! I thought it would never come round! I can't wait to see my little treasure again, but also I am about going out of my MIND with anticipation over the nub, which I will surely see tomorrow! :) Nice and accurate now I'm this far along, so there shouldn't be any doubt. I am not sure if I will get a picture with the nub showing (it seems like this hospital is really stingy with scan pics compared with my previous one!). I think I will only get one picture, and if it doesn't show the nub you will have to take my word for it on what I should get a very good view of during the actual scan! ;)

I have second guessed myself SO many times in the last week or two. I have such a girl vibe. But then I eat some meat and it tastes GOOD, so maybe it's a boy then? And then the girl "vibe" is probably more of a wishful thinking vibe, lol! So that can't be trusted. I don't have a strong boy vibe, but I think maybe it could easily be a boy all the same. I am left with really truly having no idea what to expect in the nub department tomorrow. I think I lean more towards girl in my heart, but it seems very unlikely in reality, so I am trying to remember to expect the "usual" (ha!) boy nub! ;) Whichever it is, I will be so happy to know, and to move on to thinking ahead and bonding and planning names, etc! I know it's not the proper confirmation scan, and will try to wait for that before going all out, lol! I wouldn't "announce" based on a 13 week scan, but it's so much fun to have a good idea, all from my own observations, without an expert telling me what I'm having! I can't wait! I hope my little one is doing well in there. I've just realised we haven't got a nickname for this baby. That's the first time ever. I haven't even missed having one, it's just nice to refer to the baby as "the baby", honestly! We wondered if we would even have any more. And it's lovely to say "my little one" and vary what I call him or her.

I'm sure there's something else I'm meant to update about... the midwife follow-up appointment? I finished my booking appointment (I might have said this last entry, I can't remember when I last updated!), and am being referred to the home birth team - yay! Hopefully they will give me an appointment for 16 weeks, and then it's the 20/21 week scan (which I have to get the date for at the 16 week appointment, apparently), and then 28 weeks, 34 weeks, and 36, etc. Not many appointments when you are not having your first baby, but I am fine with it.

Well, it's late and I must go! I will update about the scan when I can, hopefully tomorrow.