Jacqui's IVF and Pregnancy Journal

7 months old – last blog entry!

Another big gap between posts – I just don’t have the time to sit down and write! I would love to keep this blog going but I think its time to say the journey to having our daughter has ended – and the adventure of being her parents has just begun. Perhaps that’s another blog for another day when I have the time lol.

So wow 3 months have passed and out little angel is doing so well! She has her bottom 2 front teeth – teething hasn’t been so bad as I remember it and she has had the odd night of being grumpy before bed but we have gotten off lightly. She has such a cheeky little smile with them! She has been sitting unaided since 5 months, has just mastered crawling and is starting to pull herself up on furniture. She says ‘Dadda’ and ‘Cat’, loves Waybaloo, her favourite toys are her wooden rainbow blocks, and she is so incredibly easy going, affectionate and is developing quite a sophisticated sense of humour.

We are practising baby-led-weaning and that is going so well, I dont know why everyone doesn’t! No mushed up purees on a spoon, its proper grown up foods with her hands. Her list of tried and loved so far is broccoli, parsnip, carrot, orange segments, cheese, pasta, apple, chicken, toast, plums, peppers, cucumber, tomato, celery, mashed potato, and cod. She is developing a very healthy appetite!

She is still sleeping through the night, still co-sleeping with me, and we still wouldnt have it any other way. There is no better way to start the day then being woken by a happy smiling baby, pinching your nose and whispering ‘tatatatata’.

There is so much more to say, about how much we love her and how proud we are of our little Jessica, but I think that is evident throughout. There is so much to say about our hopes for the future, our dreams for our family, but that is all unwritten and I know that right now we are very happy. Thats the best thing I can say to end this blog and say goodbye. And now, I end with some pictures from the last few months, and well wishes to all who are reading.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | Baby is here! | Leave a comment

4 months old

Wow it has been so long since I wrote to this blog! I guess I thought now she is here, the journey of IVF and pregnancy could be finished. But now I realise there is still so much to tell as our darling little girl grows, so many moments I want to remember forever, that I have to continue with it.

Jessica is 4 months old now and continues to amaze us every day. She is sitting unaided though only when she doesn’t know she is doing so, therefore putting her down to sit on the floor to play and having her in her highchair is still a little way off – but not much of a way off atall! She seems to have developed her own language which consists of a series of croaks (think that scary sound in ‘The Ring’), raspberries, squeals and ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaaah’. She takes great delight in being answered back and having a ‘conversation’ such as it is. She is going to be a real little talker.

She is becoming such a loving, content, determined little thing. Her personality shines through. When you take her hands she will pull herself up to standing – I swear she would be running and chattering away already if she could. Her face when she does so is full of pride (look at me mummy!) and joy that she has achieved something. My little genius :)

She’s been sleeping right through from around 10pm to 6am since about 9 weeks now, and once she has a little feed at 6am will go straight back to sleep till about 8am. Though the last few nights she has gone down about 6pm – lets hope it continues as I love her madly, but really treasure some grown up time in the evenings that I just havn’t been getting. That makes me feel horrible to say as I adore her so, and love every mintue with her, but every parent needs grown up time too!

Here are some recent pics of our loving, determined, cheeky little monkey!

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | Leave a comment

5 week old monkey!

Wow where has the time gone?

Well I know where it has gone…it has passed in a blur of nappies and bottles and sleepless nights and tired days and grabbing 5 minutes here and there to do the simple things like getting dressed and eating and checking facebook.

But it has also been a time of wonder and content, laughter and love.

She remains an attached baby, although when she is really asleep – as opposed to that ‘quiet alert’ state when she is really awake with her eyes closed just waiting for me to dare try and put her down – she will sleep happily in her moses basket and still wakes up slowly and peacefully, only now she has begun to smile when greeted with one of us on waking and it lights up my day!

Jessica is a proper little cheeky monkey and has begun to fight sleep like she doesnt want to miss out on anything. Its kinda cute until its been a full half hour of that heartbreaking screeching. I have dealt with her colicky stage by putting infacol in her milk and it has worked wonders…this is pure stubborness! Its only until she cant fight sleep anymore and she eventually falls asleep in my arms (I refuse to leave her to cry it out…I will never do that) about 10 – 11pm and then thats it, I know we can sleep till around 3am. And that is bliss. That is luxury!

There is nothing quite as lovely as a warm squidgy baby pressed up against your chest, alseep, with milky warm breath on your cheek and contented little sighs in your ear and a pudgy little hand clinging on to your finger. It is the most amazing thing in the world and I could stay like that for hours – and quite often do! Whats just as lovely is when Akeel takes over to give me the night off, and I sleep in the other room, but wake up at 6/7am missing her badly so get up and go to our room to find him alseep with her just like that too. To know that he shares those joys in those little things means the world to me.

I am loving every minute :)

She is coming along so well, weighing 9lb 2 tuesday just gone! She seems so big and heavy now and thats an average birth weight…..I am so pleased she didnt come out as big as she is now or I wouldnt have managed half as well lol!

She is playing on her jungle gym or in her bouncy chair more often and really enjoys it, and seems to be especially fond of a warped mirror that is on the bottom of a toy lady bird that hangs from her gym. She will stare at it – and her warped reflection – kicking her legs and waving her arms with wide eyes in excitement. She cant know its her so I wonder what she does think!

My other 2 daughters came to visit for a few days and it was so lovely to see them! Lou, 17 is an absolute natural with Jessica and she will make a fantastic mother herself someday (not just yet though eh!) and Kasmin, 14, seemed to like her but isnt very confident with babies…I know she too will make a fantastic mother some day though :)

Here are some pics from the last couple of weeks;

My eldest and my youngest…

August 1, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 weeks old today

Baby Jessica continues to change and grow before our very eyes…blowing us away every day! She has such a funny little personality developing. When she lays there content, just staring at me and pulling faces, it really feels like she is trying to communicate and she has such a mischievous glint in her eye. Maybe thats just because she has her Daddies eyes lol. She is definitely smiling and starting to make those adorable cooing noises. Her eyelashes are so incredibly long, as are her limbs, and her beautiful brown eyes so big and full of love and wonder. Her dry skin has really improved and she has such perfectly soft skin, with rosy pink warm hands and feet. She loves to curl her fingers and toes around my fingers, and when I blow raspberries on the soles of her feet she looks at me as if I am mad! She sleeps so peacefully and soundly, and wakes herself up slowly and happily by stretching her arms and legs out and gradually opening her eyes to look around. One of us is always there when she wakes and she finds a smiling face and cuddles galore to welcome her. She just loves being stretched out across Daddies belly, or up high on Mummies shoulder with her little legs folded under her and will sigh with content with each breath while there. I would keep her there all day and once I learn how to use our ringsling, I will. Its where she belongs.

Her cord stump fell off on Tuesday and seems to be healing well to reveal a very ‘outy’ belly button! She was weighed on Wednesday and was 7lb 4.5 oz so had gained 6oz over her birthweight which is fantastic. She is already holding her head up and has great control. She has outgrown her newborn size baby gro’s. She had a hearing test yesterday and passed 100%. She gazes around and takes everything in, she is so observant and just wants new things to look at all the time. She concentrates very hard when I sing to her. She much prefers pooing and piddling with her nappy off and loves it when I get it off in time for her.

Tomorrow I am going to a ‘Sling Meet’ where I will meet some baby wearing natural mamas who can show me how to use the ringsling I have. I’m looking forward to showing Jessica off and meeting some like minded mama’s in the area, I really am.

Heres some pics from the last few days…how my angels beauty grows daily!

July 11, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | , , , , | Leave a comment

1 week old today!

I can hardly believe this first week has gone so quickly! She has made it so easy for us, she is such a chilled out little thing. We are not too tired and getting into a good routine I think.

Akeel is back at work for the first time today and we miss him :( He has taken to fatherhood like a duck to water and he absolutely adores Jessica, and she adores him. Its so cute to see!

She definitely has a little personality already and I know we all say it, but I am sure she is smiling. Not windy, grimacy smiles but big open mouthed cheeky grins that light up her whole face. Uusally when one of us is talking to her and she is wide awake. She is such a little monkey!

She prefers to be held upright to fart, loves it when I get her nappy off in time for her to poop freely without one (the blissed out trance look says it all lol), knows that when she is cradled she is about to be fed so she stops fussing and waits patiently while doing the little bird ‘feed me’ mouth, and she absolutely loves being cwtched up on my shoulder to go to sleep. She settles so well at night after a feed too. I have absolutely no complaints!!

We have taken her out a few times now and she slept right through each time. I was hoping to take her for a walk in the pram today but its horrible weather – typically! Hopefully it will be nicer tomorrow though.

Some pics from the last week….

July 4, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daddys side of the story….

….I hope this blog entry helps…

….is pretty much how I felt from the very start of even thinking about having a baby…”I hope” begins everything I ever thought of…I hope I become a dad…I hope the preganancy goes well…I hope she’s delivered at home like we want and I hope shes perfectly perfect…

On the day itself, well I remember the sunshine in the morning and the music in the background. I remember Jacqui being very calm and bouncing on her materninty ball…I remember when she said we need to call the midwife and I remember starting to fill the pool and getting incredibly nervous and very very excited.

The most important thing I can say is trust your mrs’s advice and her instincts…What I admired the most is how Jacqui took It all  back to the old school…and doing what is natural….she never took for granted what the experts said or the medics…but researched and learnt whats best for her and very importantly the baby. as much as I could do, was to listen, understand and support her ….thats what was important for me to do.

From a practical pointof view I was really really nervous about fainting…you know at the sight of blood and stuff…but I mananged to stay at the top end and the midwife took care of the rest…I’ll never forget how quick and stress free and calm it all was…Jacqui wanted music and quiet and no shouting …and she got just that…little Jessica was born into water and went sraight to mum and then me and it was all soooo lovely.

Be prepared to do all the little things…from cooking and washing from when she needs you to…to fetching and grabbing…fetching and grabbin is the new ” hunting and gathering ” instinct for you…it will make all the difference to your mrs and you’ll feel pretty useful. All the liitle things can add up to a gold medallin, olympic winning effort, never underestimate this bit.

If you possibly can, and all the stars are lined up in the heavens, then dont miss the chance to witness your baby being born and hold her as soon as you can…dont miss the chance to tell your mrs you love her and get her a bunch of  flowers…and dont miss the chance of being able to look back and think that was pretty amazing and I was a part of the memory and as I then step forward into fatherhood, thats a good mantra I’m aiming to stick to…Id never want to look back on any stage of Jessicas life and think anything but I tried my best with her, and loved every precious moment of it. Thats my biggest hope as I write this to you today.

I hope your baby arrives safely and soundly…

I hope this blog entry helps…

I hope…

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

27/06: Birth Story – Mummies POV

Jessica Bibi Hope Rafiq, born at 11:22 (what a magical number!) weighing in at 6lb 12.5oz. 27th June after a birth that has left me totally euphoric!!

I woke up at about 4am getting stonger than BH but not quite strong to convince me contractions. I woke Akeel up at about 5am and we went downstairs to start timing them but they seemed to stop so we went back to bed. By about 9am though, I was bouncing on my ball waiting for the midwife to come and do an assessment, still not convinced though and certain she would say it was a false alarm.

Bouncing at 9am….

At about 10am, she arrived and examined me….I was 4cm dilated and went to 5cm as she was examining me. So Akeel started filling up the pool while I was still bouncing and rocking

I got in the pool about 11am, and after a couple of contractions started feeling like I wanted to push. I told the midwife, who said it wouldnt be time yet and it was just my bowels or the baby coming down ready. I knew though

Chilling in the pool 12 mins before she was born….

I said I might need some gas and air soon as I was starting to think things were about to start getting harder and I was expecting to be pushing for a while. But there was no time!

I suddenly felt her head coming down into the birth canal, and started saying ‘oh my god, oh my god, shes coming’. I was thinking ‘ok this is where its going to start to hurt..relax relax relax’ and forced myself to relax and breathe and accept the pain when it came. The midwife said ‘just take your time’ and then started explaining how the head would come first and then she would check the cord wasnt around the neck, and then a few more pushes and her body would follow.  I smiled and said ‘ok’ then I felt my body wanting to push so I closed my eyes, put my head back, let out one low grunt and went with my bodies urge to push. It didnt hurt, it felt amazing. I felt everything. I felt her body come down through the birth canal and just slip out into the water in one small push!!

The midwife was in shock and so was I lol. I got away with a very small tear that wasnt worth stitching.

We had a lovely cuddle in the pool straight away, then she went to Daddy while I got out ready for the 3rd stage, which was also completely natural and happened nice and easily and quickly

Daddies 1st cuddle…

Then more skin to skin and I breastfed her successfully yay!

I cant even begin to describe how I feel. I had the birth I wanted and it feels amazing! I never thought it would happen like that if i’m honest, but it did and baby Jessica is just perfection

Here are some more pics of her first few hours….

I am  so totally blissed out by her. She is amazing! She is so content and chilled out and only cries a little when she is hungry. She spends most of her time scrunched up on my shoulder asleep or laying beside me looking around. We are doing everything as naturally as possible and she has spent all of about 5 minutes in her basket lol…she wants to be with me all the time and I am more than happy to giver her that. It feels right.

I have asked Akeel to write an account of the birth from his point of view so that should follow shortly  :)

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Baby is here! | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

41 weeks – come on Jessica!!

41 weeks today and still no sign! Had a midwife visit yesterday and everything is looking good…BP good, babies heart rate good, shes still head down and is a little lower down now getting ready.

I decided to give the membrane sweep a go, but she had trouble finding my cervix as its still posterior (high up)  and slants off to the right. She said it was softer from previous pregnancies but was not softening for labour yet. Its no suprise the sweep didnt kick anything off then as we are just not ready!

We went for a lovely walk after through the forest, its been so long since we walked through there. It aggravated my SPD though so i’m really stiff and sore today :( Had a couple of mild contractions this morning but nothing to write home about.

Got a midwife visit booked for tomorrow morning for another sweep, but i’m going to ask her to only try a sweep if my cervix is ‘favourable’, ie ready for labour. There just doesnt seem any point otherwise and i’m apparantly only allowed 3 sweeps before they step up to induction. I dont want to get carried away on that instoppable track.

Thats it really, nothing else to report! Just chilling out today and taking things easy.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Pregnant! | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over-due and under-pressure UPDATE#1

Hi all :)

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last entry, it really is encouraging to know I am not the only one who believes as I do.

We saw the consultant today and it was surprisingly positive. I think I was so ready for a fight after the midwives attitude that it totally surprised me! He took my concerns seriously and we discussed stillbirth rates after 42 weeks…he didnt actually know the exact figures (2 in 1000 after 42 weeks) so he was impressed when I quoted them to him and it definitely helped to convince him we are making an informed choice and not acting out of fear or stubborness.

He did a quick scan (so lovely to see her humungous head lol) and my fluid levels are good, she is in the optimum position for birth and he didnt think it was necessary to take measurements. Plus my BP and everything else is hunky dory :)

We agreed that I would go back next monday for another scan to check amniotic fluid levels and just make sure baby is ok, but if there are no concerns then we can continue waiting for her to make an appearance in her own time. Obviously if the fluids are dangerously low, the placenta appears to be failing or she is growth restricted then we will re-evaluate our position on induction.

We didnt discuss birthing at hospital, as I have decided to take that as it comes and he didnt raise the issue. Again – if there are any concerns about the placenta or fluids etc then I will re-evaluate our position at the time, but as far as I am concerned right now with no problems, we are going ahead with a homebirth regardless of term, and regardless of the midwife!

She is back on wednesday so I look forward to telling her that the consultant appears to be on our side hehe. But you never know…baby might already be here by then!

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Pregnant! | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Over-due & under-pressure

I have to get this down because I am so angry!

My midwife came yesterday for a check and Akeel quite rightly brought up the subject of induction. On her last visit she said that I wouldnt be able to homebirth after 42 weeks, and made me an appointment (for tomorrow) to see the consultant to discuss induction. I had been worrying about this, furiously researching our options, getting my facts straight and made an informed choice that I dont want to be induced, and I will go ahead with a homebirth after 42 weeks.

Induction only works if you are close (ie 24 – 48 hours close) to labour anyway, and a failed induction (which means you and baby are just not ready) can cause a false labour bringing with it anxiety, stress, exhaustion and eventually a possible c-section. Even a succesful induction carries a risk of fetal distress, and even if it doesnt, it does mean constant montioring which means restricted movement in labour, harder and faster contractions, and all kinds of issues that go against everything I believe about labour and the female body and can lead to cascading interventions ie venthouse, epidural, and c-section.

Why on earth would I put my baby through that for the sake of a couple of days?

Then there is the issue of not being ‘allowed’ a homebirth after 42 weeks. This is complete and utter rubbish. There is no reason to treat a 42+ week pregnancy as wrong, or a medical problem. The average pregnancy is 38 – 42 weeks, and the EDD (Estimated Date of Delivery) of 40 weeks is just the middle point of that average. I am not overdue until I am past 42 weeks, and wont be treated as such. This 40 week or 280 day middle point is calculated on the average cycle length of 28 days. Its all just averages and estimations, and as long as baby and mother are healthy there is no reason I can think of to treat a 42+ week pregnancy as a problem.

Yes – there is a risk of the placenta beginning to fail, which means it may be less able to support the baby through contractions, resulting in a stillbirth. But this risk is very minimal and can be detected. It is not an unknown or a certianty. With fetal heart rate monitoring and checking of the amount of amniotic fluid, it is possible to monitor the health of the placenta. Why then do some midwives and doctors automatically treat over-due as life threatening and pressure mothers into induction and/or hospital births with constant monitoring?? It just seems so un-necessary, especially considering the added pressure, stress and anxiety of this can prevent labour from happening naturally!

So anyway. When we raised the issue again with the midwife yesterday and I tried to ask her about the actual risks and not just the percieved risks and to get my point across, she told me that I would be risking my babies life and that it was wrong to be stubbron for a homebirth ‘at any cost’. I have to admit I got a bit upset…she was just going on and on about the risk of a stillbirth, not letting me get a word in, and I burst into tears. She seemed to be saying she cared more about the welfare of this baby than we do, and I was just being silly and stubborn!

I ended up agreeing to daily monitoring at the hospital after 42 weeks delaying induction until 43 weeks, and going to hospital to birth after 42 weeks. I felt so beaten and guilty, so down hearted, she made me feel like I was being selfish and not putting my babies wellbeing first. In the heat of the moment she got to me and I backed down.

And today I have woken up furious!!! How dare she!

I’m only 40 + 3 and already i’m under this kind of pressure and stress? How is that healthy, supportive or helpful? How am I supposed to stay relaxed with this kind of pressure? I hope to god that she is not the attending midwife when I do give birth because I have absolutely no faith in her to adhere to my carefully researched and thought out birthplan. I dont trust her atall. I dont even like her. How dare she play the dead baby card on me just to get me to hospital! She has absolutely no respect for my beliefs and trust in my body, my baby, and my instincts.

I am NOT going to be induced. I am NOT going to give birth in hospital unneccessarily. I will agree to monitoring and if there is any evidence that the placenta is failing then this will change things obviously, but unless that happens I will continue to treat this pregnancy as healthy and normal, and fight for the birth my baby deserves. I wont be made to feel guilty by the consultant tomorrow or by this midwife again, and I wont be shut down without getting my point across.

I am mama bear hear me roar!

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Pregnant! | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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