Sunday, 29 December 2013

My family reunion - Part one

On January 2nd Hubby and I are having lunch with a few members of my Dad's side of the family.  This might not sound like a big deal, but trust me it is. See the thing is, I haven't seen most of these people in over 10 years and the fact that we're seeing them now would go down really badly with my immediate family if they knew.  Will any other members of my family be there? Nope! So why is it happening? Well, because becoming a parent has made me realise just how important it is to at least TRY have a relationship with your family. 

The last time any of us have seen Dad's family was at my Grandfather's funeral. And even before that we didn't see them all that often. As a child I knew the reason was because we all lived so far away from each other.  Some of us in Queensland, some in New South Wales, and others in England.   But as an adult I learned that this wasn't the reason at all. When my Grandfather passed away it was sudden. He had something like a heart attack while swimming laps at the local pool and didn't recover. I'm uncertain as to whether any of his family knew he had a bad heart or any medical conditions because he wasn't a man who spoke about such things. He wasn't a man who spoke much about anything to his family at all. He was a military man who ran his home and his family with the same discipline as he'd learned in the army. And he held the same high, and unbelievably unattainable expectations of his children. He was not warm and welcoming, and as a kid becoming a young man my Dad did not find acceptance or pride in his Father's words or actions. Only years before his death my Grandfather attempted to repair the relationship he'd had with his children, but by then my Dad's scars were far too deep and he wasn't able to accept that he'd changed. 

In the years since we had no contact with Dad's family. It was always a sore point when we brought it up.  We've got Aunts and Uncles and cousins who we've grown up not knowing. At least until a few years ago when my Aunt S got in contact with me via Facebook (you've gotta love Facebook!). Turns out she missed me, thinks of me often and after a long chat I realised I have quite a lot in common with her.  She became a much-needed calming influence with nothing but wisdom to share during a time when my own relationship with my parents was rocky.  We spoke long and often via email and I finally began to feel a really family connection with her again.  Unfortunately she was living in London at the time but was soon planning on moving back to Australia.  

Well, that time has come! And in the few weeks she's been back in the country we've already caught up and have planned this impromptu family reunion with my other long-lost aunt and her children.  So Sunny Hubby, little Gracie and I will go to lunch and extend the olive branch. Just because my Dad isn't ready yet to mend the broken relationships he's had with them doesn't mean I can't. Now, more than ever, I appreciate and value family relationships.  For such a long time there have been people in the world who have loved me and yet I do not know them. I want at least to say that I tried to know them and to rebuild the part of my family tree that was broken all those years ago. I want my daughter to know how important family is. And that there is always another chance to repair a relationship. 

I don't know how it'll go tomorrow at lunch. I'm nervous, anxious and excited. I am worried that I will feel like the outsider, but I'm also very keen to meet my cousins who I've not seen since they were in primary school.  Whatever happens at least I can say I tried, I reached out. And if all goes well Gracie's family tree will grow bigger and stronger. 

Families are all so complex, aren't they?!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

My Christmas spirit

It's Christmas Eve! I'll just repeat that so it sinks in.  It's Christmas Eve!!  Nope, still haven't wrapped my brain around it yet. Tomorrow is Christmas Day and our first Christmas with our beloved little daughter. And yet I still haven't gotten into the spirit of the season in the same way as years gone by. Our tree is up, decorated with baubles and lights, there are Christmas movies on TV, Hubby and I have made the obligatory run to the shops to buy gifts for our families, and yet it still feels surreal. 

Tomorrow is going to be a quiet one for our new little family. We'll wake up and make a pancake breakfast and open presents with Gracie. Then we're off to a casual late lunch with my side of the family.  We'll probably call it a day soon after that and head home so Gracie can nap.  

We haven't even bought each other gifts this year.  And I think that's why it doesn't quite feel like our usual Christmas.  Anything we might have wanted we'd already bought in some mid-year sale, or we lost interest in while waiting to purchase it. But to be honest, gifts haven't really interested us at all this year.  We've already received our gift, and she was delivered to is in October.  And I know how corny that sounds when I say it out loud, but that's truly how we feel.  I look into her sweet face as she beams up at me with her toothless, sideways smile and I feel like all my Christmases have come at once. 

Sure there are things that it'd be nice to have, like a pretty new dress or a new watch. But I don't NEED those things. I NEED Gracie! And she has been lovingly gift-wrapped by God and delivered to us. Our lives are not complete without her now. Such a tiny little girl has filled all the open, empty spaces in our lives and our hearts. What once we yearned for, what we were missing, we have been given. By the grace of God, we have our daughter Grace. And that is all we need this Christmas.

So this year, and I know for all our years to come, Christmas won't stand for presents or things. The gifts our Lord has blessed us with, on this the day of His birth, are what will remain important. And that is where my Christmas spirit will come from. 

Merry Christmas to you all!
May love and peace surround you during this most special time of year. 
Sunny xx

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Meeting Miss Grace

Being a new parent is hard. You know from the moment you find out you're pregnant that life will never be the same. And that this little person soon to be born will challenge you every day for the rest of your life. But no amount of reading or friendly parenting advice can prepare you for YOUR baby and their specific little character which ultimately depicts what they need and want from you as their Mum and Dad. Every single day is different from the day before, and for the first few weeks we weren't sure if we'd ever learn all Gracie's little commands and requests. But now she's nearly eight weeks old we're slowly getting the hang of this new life. 

Our first six weeks together
When we brought you home from the hospital we thought you'd never smile. Your cranky, dissatisfied little face always looking up at me in what I came to think was disapproval. "How can you be getting it so wrong, Mummy?" But as the weeks went on we started to learn a few things about each other that have made our lives together a lot calmer. 

You're incredibly adorable, with your beautiful eyes that look like marbles with their mixture of blue, green and brown. Those adorable little hands and feet that I just want to hold, kiss and nibble every time I catch a glimpse of them.  And the little birthmark on your belly that just happens to look exactly like your Mummy's melts my heart each time I see it. 
You have so many little facial expressions and it seems you learn a new one each day. Your smile is slightly crooked and your tongue pokes out the side and my heart skips a beat each time your face lights up. 

You're so strong already. You can hold your own head up while sitting on our laps or propped up in your bumbo seat. You can grab and squeeze our fingers and pull on our hair or jewelry. And those tiny little drumsticks you call legs can kick with enough force to boot the cat away when you don't want to share cuddle time with Mummy.  
I can't wrap my head around the fact that Daddy has taught you how to grab our fingers and pull yourself up into a standing position already. Granted,you don't have enough balance to do this on your own yet, and your cute little bandy legs wobble as your tooshy  sticks out too far behind you. But it won't take you long to get it. 

You're so clever. You've learned that you can summon us from any part of the house to your side within seconds with your noises. Whether it's the "uh uh uh" sound that tells me it's feeding time, the coughing sound we've dubbed "the fake out", which is essentially a five second warning that you're about to start screaming the house down, or the grunts that signal that it's poopy time. Our days now revolve around these noises in whatever combination you choose to apply them. Food, poop, cry, poop. Poop, cry, cry, food, food, food, poop, poop, poop... You're doing a pretty amazing job letting us know what you need. 

You are VERY particular!!
You prefer side-by-side feeding to upright feeding. Not such a bad thing for mummy either, as it gives me 20 minutes or so to close my eyes or read a book or write this blog.  
You are always awake at 2.30am. Whether it's because you've woken for a feed-poop-cry or we're winding down from an anti-nap marathon, it doesn't matter. When I see that magic time flash up on the clock in our bedroom I know it's nearly time for us all to close our eyes and sleep. 
You will only fall asleep wrapped around someone's belly. We've tried all manner of soothing but the one old faithful settling position remains the same; belly to belly, legs wrapped around as far as they'll go, head wedged in between boobies or nuzzled into an armpit. Nothing works better and hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?!
You prefer showers with Mum or Dad to baths. You do love kicking about in a bubble bath, no doubt about it. But a warm shower can turn screaming Gracie into calm Gracie in about five seconds flat. So you'll cling onto us, looking like a drenched monkey, while we shampoo your hair and wash your bottom. And you'll cry the minute we wrap you in a fluffy towel because you're never quite ready for it all to be over.  
You enjoy a car ride under two circumstances: a) you're asleep OR b) we're speeding down the highway, there is no traffic, no stop signs, no traffic lights, no deceleration. 50km/hr seems to be the magic number. Anything slower than that invokes a very unhappy scream session. 
You dislike doing poos or having the farts with a passion. It would seem that even though both of these habits occur at least eight times a day for you dear girl, you're never quite prepared. The sheer act of cracking a fart offends you so much you have to let the whole neighborhood know about it. I would have thought that practice makes perfect, but apparently not when it comes to matters of the poopy kind. 

And most importantly our little Gracie-girl, you are loved! You are loved in the purest, most intense form of the act. Your Mummy and Daddy love you in a way that makes their lives richer.  In a way that brings a sense of peace to the heart. You are loved unconditionally, without judgement and without expectation.  You can be who you want to be and we'll stand behind you cheering you on every day of your life. 

We have all the time in the world to get to know each other, my sweet girl. And I can not wait, because these first weeks have already been so fulfilling. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

And then there were three - Our birth story


Sunny Baby came into the world on Monday the 28th of October, at 9.16pm surrounded by an operating theatre full of buzzing doctors and nurses. It was not the delivery we had been expecting, but it was an entrance fit for a baby girl who kept us on our toes for the entire 41 weeks leading up to the big event.  And it was perfect; in all of its surprise, intensity and wonder. It was the perfect way to welcome our first child, our daughter, Grace. 

Grace was delivered via emergency c-section following a tense consultation with our OB on Monday morning. I had developed toxaemia and pre-eclampsia over the weekend and had been feeling less than wonderful. I had not slept at all the night before and spent much of my waking hours praying for labour to start and my waters to break. But come time to head into town for our appointment neither had happened. I was a misery-guts of exhaustion and discomfort. I had been encouraged by my sister, during a phone call I'd made to whinge about it all, to take my bags in case the doctor chose to do an internal and my membranes broke. I told myself that I was taking my bags with the intention of refusing to come home until this baby was delivered. I would sit in his waiting room and protest until I got my way. But it turned out that none of that was necessary. Our OB rechecked my blood and urine results, as well as my blood pressure which had shot up to 180/99, and immediately decided it was time to get the baby out. We were given two options: start induction medications and wait for labour to progress overnight or have an emergency c-section later that night. 

So many things ran through my mind in those next few moments. I was simultaneously frustrated, scared and relieved. I was frustrated that after everything else I was potentially going to lose the experience of labour and birthing my baby because my body was no longer coping with carrying; scared that she could be in trouble and that we'd waited all weekend for results that should have been read to us and acted on three days earlier; and relieved that either option given to us meant that our baby girl would be in the world within 24hours. Hubby and I had no idea which was the better option so we left the final decision to our doctor. He chose c-section and I cried. 

We were taken straight to the maternity ward where I was admitted, showered, shaved and starved for several hours prior to the big event. Hubby kept me entertained while I sulked about how hungry I was. We called our parents and informed them of their impending grandparenthood. Hubby got to play dress up in a pair of hospital-issue green scrubs, and then we were collected for theatre. Everything from that point on is a bit of a fuzzy blur of events. 

I didn't do all those things you're meant to do, or meant to ask for. I didn't get her placed directly onto my chest for skin to skin. I didn't ask them to allow the cord to finish pulsing before it was cut.  I didn't ask hubby to take photos. We had decided that after everything that had happened, and with no idea of what to expect next, we needed just to present together throughout the birth. He would not leave my side until she was safely delivered, and I would not feel as scared because he did.  I remember Hubby holding my hand while the spinal block was administered. I remember getting in trouble for flinching when the anaesthetist jabbed me in my spine. I remember feeling like my legs were in the air the entire time and asking Hubby if I was breathing properly because I couldn't feel my lungs moving and my face was becoming hot. I remember panicking slightly that I may fall asleep, miss the birth of our first child and never wake up.  

But despite all of my fears and anxieties, with Hubby sitting calmly by my side stroking my hair and holding my hand, we finally heard the slurping of suction and a tiny, startled cry from behind the drape. A cry that I instinctively and instantly recognised as from one of my own; as if I'd heard it a thousand times before. And within a blink she was being presented to us fresh and warm, pink and new. Our baby girl was finally here.   Hubby was taken aside to hold our daughter for the first time, cut her beautiful life-giving umbilical cord and watch as the midwife and paediatrician confirmed what we already knew; she was perfect.  All the while I watched from a few meters away as her little legs kicked in the air and her Daddy beamed over her.  She was then brought over to where I lay waiting, placed on my chest and opened her eyes to look straight into mine.  In that moment I fell in love.  In that moment I knew the most important purpose of my life was to now be her parent; her mother.  In that moment I felt absolutely, soul-liftingly complete.  Our little bubble of two was now a family bubble of three.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

40 weeks and 2 days - time to come out now Baby

So we all know how fabulously I handle having to wait for things?  Well this week is killing me!!  I know babies don't always come on time, and I know that Sunny Baby will make her grand entrance when she is ready, but WHY OH WHY couldn't she have arrived on her due date so that her Mummy doesn't have to endure more waiting?  

Hubby and I joke that she will indeed have her Dad's sense of timing (when she's good and ready) and not be the organised, scheduling freak her Mum is.  And that may be a good thing; we'll soon find out anyway!  Otherwise I think she may be waiting for our lovely OB to get back from his vacation, which isn't until Monday (40+4).  Either way, I am teetering on the edge of insanity as my sleep schedule becomes smaller and smaller, and my belly keeps getting bigger and bigger, and I seem to be losing the last scrap on my sane mind to nesting and sleep deprivation.  

Sunny Baby
Have no fear, she is doing just fine.  Having an extra long sleep in seems to be doing her the world of good.  Intra-uterine life seems to be the way to go. Food on demand, sleeping all day long, have an occasional stretch and bout of hiccups.  She seems completely oblivious to the fact that she no longer really fits in there very well, and those hard objects she's kicking around are my ribs and hips.  But oh well, such is the life.

In fact I think she's so happy in there that she continues to grow at rapid speed.  At our due date OB appointment this week she measured at a massive 44 weeks and had increased the weight estimation to 8.5 pounds; a whole two weeks and half a pound bigger than last week.  I sure can bake 'em well!

I've started having dreams about what she's going to look like.  I haven't had any appearance-specific dreams about her before now.  In fact, she hasn't ever really made my dream rotation at all until now.  In my dreams she is born with beautiful, thick dark hair and dark brown eyes like her Dad, but has my lips. I don't imagine she'll get many of my features, like the green eyes or blonde hair, but that's ok.  I've always thought Hubby is quite aesthetically pleasing, so she'll be a lucky little thing if she ends up looking just like him :)

Oh my goodness, what a mess this has become!  I have gone from having very few small stretch marks, to a stomach covered in fresh, bright pink, itching tiger stripes over the last fortnight.  The appearance doesn't bother me so much because they tend to fade into regular skin tone pretty quick, but the stretching, pulling, burning and itching sensation is driving me up the wall.  I've been keeping a tube of either moisturiser, body butter or tissue oil in every room of the house for those extra annoying moments when I want to peel my skin off, but so far I am losing the battle.  Otherwise I continue to grow rounder and lower.

Where to begin? (now I feel like a whinger)  
I have not been sleeping well at all for the last fortnight.  I think it's a combination of no longer have a regular daily routine and pregnancy hormones. If I'm really super tired, I can usually get around four or five hours a night, but only after about 3am and only after I've eaten two pieces of toast, a glass of milo and guzzled down half a bottle of Gaviscon for the wicked acid reflux which has suddenly come on.  On days like these I make sure I have an afternoon nap so I can try to catch up and restore in preparation for the impending labour.

Oh and the peeing!  Holy moley, I don't think I've ever needed to pee so much and so frequently in all my life.  Just when I finally roll my whale of a self into a comfortable enough position to sleep, I have to roll myself out of bed again to go to the bathroom.  What's up with that?  I swear last night I must have set some kind of twisted urinary record for the highest volume/time ratio.

Otherwise the nesting continues.  I have completely cleaned, dusted, polished, redecorated and resorted our lounge and dining rooms in an attempt to make space for baby bouncers, bassinets and the barrage of visitors we're going to have in the next few weeks.  And it was all looking beautiful and magazine-like until we actually had to use the lounge to sit on and all the cushions got thrown around and the coffee table got moved and I gave up the idea of having a perfectly styled house.  Instead I've settled for clean and practical.  Oh well, didn't really have anything else to use those four hours on yesterday...

The nursery has been done for weeks now.  Every day I pop my head in and marvel at the transformation from guest bed/studio to Sunny Baby's room.  I sit down on the day bed and stare at all the little nick-knacks that babies require to keep them bathed, dressed, happy, comfortable and imagine myself using them in the not too distant future.  

Our beloved old lady cat, The Boo, has taken it upon herself to test each and every soft surface for quality and comfort.  So far I have found her in the cot, the bassinet, on top of the change table, in the bouncer and curled up inside the rolled up floor mat.  And so far they've all been given The Boo stamp of approval!  Bless her little heart for caring so darn much! 

Anyway, so that's about it for the time being.  I'll endeavour to keep you updated as the excitement continues.  I'm hoping that Sunny Baby decides to make her long-awaited appearance in the next couple of days, but who knows when exactly...

Despite all my griping this time, pregnancy really has been the greatest experience for me.  I have learned so much about what the human body is capable of; what my body is capable of.  It has given me back faith that even though I may not have been able to naturally create my children, I am able to carry them, grow them, nurture them, and that for me is so precious.  

I am not scared about the birthing experience.  I am excited and totally ready to face this next challenge, because I know at the end of it we'll be holding our gorgeous daughter in our arms.           

Saturday, 12 October 2013


I'm finally attempting to get a little more tech-savvy with my blog.  So you can now follow Sunny Side Up on bloglovin' along with all your other favourite bloggie friends :)

Monday, 30 September 2013

36 weeks - Are we there yet?

Eeeek, I've only just realised that it's been 10 weeks since I last posted any updates on here.  I occasionally remember to pop onto Facebook and update my status there, so if you feel you're missing out please stop by that page.  But in the meantime I'll get my butt into gear and write a proper post for you...

So the last 10 weeks have flown by!  We went from 26 weeks gestation and terrified that Sunny Baby would come too soon, to crossing days and weeks off the calendar like there'd never been a problem at all. And for every day that passed by and the amniotic leaking didn't continue as greatly we have been more and more grateful.  

Sunny Baby
All I can say is "Go baby, go!"  She is doing exceptionally well.  From about the 28 week mark she began to grow like crazy; measuring almost three to four weeks ahead in length and weight.  It was almost like she overheard how scared we were for her tiny little body to be born too soon, and decided then and there to prove us wrong. Bless her little heart.

At 30 weeks she was measuring at 34 in length, and just recently at the 36 week checkup she was a very ripe 38 weeks in length, and had an estimated weight of just over eight pounds.  Our little girl is definitely not at risk of being premature and tiny any more!

The Belly
I had myself fooled that I was maybe going to get away with not developing any stretch marks on my stomach.  And everything was going to plan until week 34 when I started to feel a definite stretch and itch above and below my belly-button.  So now both my boobs and my belly look like I've painted big, bright sun rays around them.  I don't really mind that much; they could have been a lot worse from a lot earlier in the pregnancy.

The drop has definitely happened now.  Sunny Baby is head down and ready for action, and loves to spend almost 16 hours a day curled into a tiny wombat ball with her back to my skin, leaving me with an adorable little "butt shelf" as we have affectionately named it.  Mind you, the minute I am in any position other than upright, she'll have a lovely big stretch and push her tootsies up against my ribs.  This makes sleeping, breathing, eating, and moving about a bit of a challenge.  But my bedtime pillow fortress, which seems to multiple as the weeks go by, is helping to keep me comfortable enough to doze off.

36 weeks
I think I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I'm super skeptical about all the "what to expect" books full of advice and what feels like step-by-step instructions to pregnancy.  So when you get to the section on the third trimester and they describe how the very special, new mummy section of your brain starts to take over your every action and thought, I automatically think "Pfffft, yeah right!"  Silly me!  

I don't know exactly when my brain snapped into crazy pregnant lady phase, but it's absolutely happened!  I find myself rearranging the linen cupboard and Sunny Hubby's shoe closet late at night.  I have made and remade the cot linen several times over to make sure it is absolutely, perfectly straight and tucked in.  It will be 36'C outside, my feet and hands so swollen I barely bend them, and yet I'll be sweeping the floor and hanging out multiple loads of washing.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?!  

Damn you baby books, damn you for being right!  I don't mind the rationally organised portion of this brain takeover.  Granted the bags are packed, the capsule is in the car, the nursery is set up with weeks to spare.  But the incessant need to clean and organise junk that has already been cleaned and organised?  What's that about!?!?!  Oh well, only a couple of weeks to go!

And speaking of the countdown, would anyone else like to take bets on when Sunny Baby will enter the world?  So far there have been a few guesses:  
October 1st (tomorrow!) 
October 5-6th (this weekend; 37+3 weeks) 
October 10th (38 weeks) or 
October 28th (40+4 weeks)

If she's anything like her Daddy, which she will undoubtedly be, she'll come in her own time, when she's good and ready.  And when we least expect it!

I have finally got around to doing a before and after of the room that that is now proudly transformed into our nursery. 

As you can see, Hubby's music studio needed to go in order for Sunny Baby to get her own room.  It was a big challenge finding somewhere else in the house to set up all of his gear, but we came to a very nice compromise.  Over the space of about a week, Hubby packed and stored all the furniture and equipment that wasn't being relocated and put it all in storage.  He then shampooed the walls, carpets, blinds, windows, and wardrobe, then set about building the bed and cot.  Here's the linen he chose for the cot and single bed...

I think he's done an amazing job!   
We still have a bit of decorating to go.  I have ordered some prints I made for the walls to brighten it all up a little more, and there is a bouncer and floor play mat to be set up.
We have chosen to put a bassinet in our room for the first few months after Sunny Baby comes home from the hospital.  Just until she is in a more settled feeding and sleeping routine, and after we get this long, hot Spring/Summer out of the way.

I finally feel as though everything is in its rightful place and that we are ready with open arms, for our little girl to come into the world.  I'm not scared for her health anymore; she's a strong little poppet and has proven that over the last 10 weeks.  I'm not nervous about the delivery; we will be in great hands with our doctor and his midwives.  I don't have overwhelming thoughts about lack of sleep and change of lifestyle that come with a newborn; Hubby and I have waited a very long time for our precious girl, and during that time we have grown stronger as a couple, as a team.  Whatever madness comes next we can handle it, together.  And I can not wait!    

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What happened to my belly button? An update from 26 weeks

I would have liked to get another pregnancy update on here sooner.  I had one for 24 weeks all pre-written but didn't get around the posting it.  

A lot has happened since week 20.  The Sunny house has been abuzz with nervous excitement at the development of a few little hiccups along the road to growing a healthy little human.    Just as we become comfortable with the idea that this pregnancy was going smoothly, a few surprises start to pop up to shake us back to reality.  Let's face it, growing a person is hard work, and if you've never done it before it can be there are some things that can scare the life out of you on a daily basis.  Things I wish I had known more about so we wouldn't have a minor heart attack when they happen.

BUT, as prepared as we think we are, we never really know what's around the corner.  You could read all the "what to expect" books ever written and still something completely unusual will come and scare the bajeebers out of you.  Sunny Baby is proof of that!  And in all my nursey wisdom, with all my experience in the strange and fascinating happenings of the human body, I will still put pregnancy down as the most incredible, awe-inspiring, unpredictable thing a human person can do!  From the sperm and egg, to those tiny little blastocysts, to our now 26 week old baby.  I am completely mesmerised!  

Sunny Baby
Sunny Baby's growth has definitely picked up speed now.  Some days I can feel her kicking both my bladder and my ribs simultaneously.  I was trying to describe this sensation to a friend not long ago and the best analogy I could think of was that it felt like a ninja octopus had taken over my abdomen.  And she is so stinkin' strong now too.  Sunny Hubby can put his hands over my belly and feel as she runs her little feet down my skin, and seconds later boot his hand away.  Meal times seem to make her even more excited and active!  Certain foods, such as curries and thai food create a flurry of movements only minutes after I've eaten.  We're not convinced yet whether that means she enjoys it or hates it.  But it's certainly fun to watch and feel.

She's measuring in perfectly at her four-weekly check ups.  I think at 24 weeks they told us she was going to be long and lean.  We weren't surprised in the least to hear that.  It seems to be a bit of a Sunny Family tradition to have tall, thin babies.  Mind you, so far they've all weighed over 7.5pounds so they're not little at all.

It's definitely sunk in that she is in fact a girl.  And now that I think about her, I couldn't imagine her as anything else.  She's also officially got a name all picked out.  It's a name we had decided we loved years ago, but one day Hubby and I were casually chatting and I referred to her as the name and it's been stuck ever since.  So far, only our close family know what her full name will be.  For everyone else, you'll just have to wait til her big arrival day!

And as for how she's fared through all the drama (which I'll tell you about in a minute)... Well, to be perfectly honest, she hasn't even noticed.  She's just kept on swimming around in her little bubble, safe and sound.  And for that I have never been more grateful!

The Belly
You want a belly picture?  Well I've got a belly picture for you!  
Starting with 12 weeks at the top left, and in 4-week intervals finishing with 26 weeks at bottom left.
Depending on how high or low she sits I either look perfectly on track with 26 weeks, or ahead by a few.  I don't mind either way.  

My belly button has completely disappeared now.  For a few weeks it gave up a good fight, only popping on top and staying a nice little half concave on the bottom.  Now it's neither popped or concave, it's just flattened out totally, as if it never existed at all.

Still no major stretch marks on my belly.  My poor boobs have copped it though.  As they continue to expand and get heavier I've developed some dark purple marks around my nipples.  They're not too big at this stage and I'm hoping they don't continue to spread out.  I'm completely loving the crap out of Vitamin E oil to keep everything hydrated and less irritated. And my stash of wirefree bras is increasing.  I even got myself one of the 'Ah Bras' kind of as a joke to wear to bed, but it's AMAZING!  I got an extra one with padding so I don't have pointy nipple syndrome when I wear nice shirts.  Another brand that make awesome maternity/wireless bras is Berlei.  They're a little more expensive but are completely worth it. Plus they give you excellent cleavage before bub comes along!

Now this is where it all gets a little nerve-wracking.  

Around 24 weeks I had a very small bleed.  My OB was away at the time and so I took myself to my GP to be checked out.  If the bleed had of been more than a pantyliner's worth I would have gone straight to the hospital, but it wasn't, and in an attempt not to freak myself out, the GP was the best call.  He checked me out, did the usual observations and reassured me that my BP was perfect and Baby's heart rate was too.  He read through my morphology report, and based on a comment about how low down near my cervix the placenta was attached, concluded that I'd had a small blood vessel break.  This can be caused by a few things, but most-likely related to Baby's rate of growth and the strength of her kicking.    I was sent home to bed and monitor for further bleeding, which never happened.

All was continuing on stress-free until about five days ago.  As I was shifting myself in bed to get comfortable I noticed a wet patch on my pajama pants, and then realised that my undies also felt quite damp.  I eased myself out of bed and straight into the bathroom to check what was going on.  On my way to the loo I had another trickle of fluid run down my leg.  I honestly had no idea what was going on.  Was this normal discharge, was this supposed to happen??  I called out for Hubby to come upstairs and survey what was happening, and we immediately decided it was time to call the midwives for advice.  

I spoke with a lovely older lady who instructed us to come into the hospital as soon as we could.  She was concerned that my membranes had ruptured, and after my heart stopped for what felt like a whole minute, I quietly explained to her that we were only just 26 weeks along.  She did her best to calm me over the phone, while Hubby got changed and collected all our important paperwork.  We got to the hospital within 20minutes and were taken straight into antenatal assessment.  I had a midwife feel and sniff (??) my sanitary pad and then take mine and Baby's observations.  Again, my BP was normal and Baby's heart rate was perfect, though it did take the midwife a very nerve-wracking three minutes to find.  The midwife calmly suggested that I may have just peed myself a little and hadn't realised.  I was mortified and couldn't imagine how I'd get that mixed up with having PV loss.  I explained again how it'd happened not five minutes after I'd been to the bathroom to pee anyway. 

By this time it was close to 11.30pm, so the  midwife called our doctor and we were instructed that I was to be admitted overnight for observation.  Of course, we were not prepared for an admission.  I had literally thrown on the oldest pair of trackpants I could find lying on our bedroom floor and an oversized jumper.  Hubby was allowed to stay long enough to help fill in the admissions paperwork and then we had to say goodnight.

I can not put into words how scared we were saying goodbye to each other that night.  Hubby kept asking if I was ok to be alone and checking with the midwives that they promised to call him if ANYTHING happened overnight.  He kissed my forehead and my belly, and then he left.  

Thankfully we had an uneventful night.  I was woken every two hours or so for pad checks, which were all dry, and to check my BP.  The midwife came in again around 5am and checked Baby's heart rate and was swiftly kicked off my belly by a very strong little foot.  Our OB dropped by later that morning and explained that I had a possible high placental leak, which was causing a slow, intermittent release of amniotic fluid from somewhere under my ribs.  He said that if it kept happening on a regular basis that I would need admitting for antibiotics and steroids to speed up Baby's growth.  He would be happy to reach 28 to 32 weeks before delivery, but would preferably like to get me to 34 weeks.  I disagreed and told him 36 weeks was my goal, to which he just giggled and told us to be prepared either way.  

Later that day I was allowed home on bed rest.  I could return to work after four days, unless any more major loss occurred.  And so far so good!  Our altered timeline has really jump-started our preparations for Baby's arrival.  We came home from the hospital and realised how unprepared we still are, and that despite all the lists in baby books about what you need for birth and afterwards, we would be happy if we had the bare essentials ready to go. 

I am still praying that she remains safe and warm in my uterus until she's full term.  But am realistic about the idea of her early arrival.  From now on I'll be delegating a lot more, and starting to wind down at work in preparation for a possible early exit.  But we'll just see what each day brings.  

I really wish I'd taken photos of the steps it's taken to get our second room transformed from music/guest room into a nursery.  It's still not 100% complete, but it sure has come a long way in the last month.  All of Hubby's music equipment is now in storage or set up in a nice compact spot in our living room.  The wardrobe has been stripped and restocked so that it's only half storage and half baby stuff.  The bookshelf has been cleared out and the books boxed up, and in their place are cute little baskets for all of the baby clothes and wraps.  She even has a toy shelf, which gets fuller by the day.

Our gorgeous friends dropped off their incredible Boori cot a few weeks ago and it sits warmly against the wall with all the sunshine.  Hubby has even picked out the cot and single bed linen all ready to put on when it's all washed and smelling fresh.  Our brand new Steelcraft pram and car capsule remain packed in their boxes, ready to assemble at a moments notice.  

We've got more amazing friends coming next weekend to help us sort and pack up our garage, which has mostly been a dumping ground and storage unit for the last three years.  Once this is done, the double bed can come out of the second bedroom and all the assembly can begin on the cot and single/day bed.  And once that's done, we're pretty much finished!

I'll be sure to attach a photo of the finished nursery once it's all done and dusted.  And I'm sure the longer Sunny Baby holds off from gracing us with her presence, the more we'll be able to decorate her room.  But until then, I'm so grateful for the basics.  

Monday, 10 June 2013

Half way, Baby!

In my mind I had this idea that when I finally got pregnant it's all I'd want to write about.  And it is!  But every time I get the time or energy to write a blog post, or when something significant happens along the way, all I can feel is the overwhelming urge to protect that moment; protect our little bubble of Sunny Baby induced happiness.  There is an extreme mother wolf transformation that happens when you get pregnant.  An overriding need to wrap yourself in bubble wrap and shield the little life growing within your belly from the outside world.  Maybe this feeling is even more exacerbated by the struggle to create that little life; maybe it's something all mothers and fathers experience.  All I know is that it has hit us hard and fast, and nothing seems more important now.

Having said that, we have reached a really special time in the pregnancy where some of our original fears have subsided and we're starting to feel confident that this little one is ours to keep.  We have reached WEEK 21 or HALF WAY!!  A point in time that feels like it has simultaneously taken forever to get to, and has snuck up on us all at once.  And there have been some pretty incredible milestones that have had to happen to reach this wonderful time in Sunny Baby's growth.  So I thought I'd share a few of them with you.

Sunny Baby
About a week ago we attended the 20 week morphology scan.  Something I'd been looking forward to so much that I actually called and booked the appointment at week 8.  We were both so nervous about it.  Hubby held my hand the whole way through, as we watched the screen above the sonographer's head as she rolled the wand up and over my stomach for an hour.  We were absolutely captivated!  As she worked from Baby's head down her abdomen, checking all the tiny little organs were functioning properly, she reached Baby's bottom and asked us the big question, "Do you want to know the sex?"  Well, of course we did!  

I'd had a couple of dreams about a baby boy in the weeks leading up to the scan, and for some reason that cemented the idea in my head.  Hubby on the other hand, was convinced it was a girl.  So we gripped each others hands even tighter and watched with bated breath.  And then, there SHE was!  Our beautiful little daughter, in all her 20 week perfection, wriggling and squirming up on the screen.  Our DAUGHTER!  

She's an active little girl now, too!  And getting very good at rolling around inside my belly until she's found the comfiest spot to sleep.  Hubby's got to experience her strong kicks and watch her back and feet create waves under my skin.  It truly is an amazing experience!

The Belly
Well, it's definitely popped out now.  It took until about week 16 to show at all, and then when it popped, it really POPPED!!  I'm counting down the days now until my bellybutton becomes an outy rather than an inny.  (Was hoping to be able to upload some belly pics, but my computer is only partly cooperating tonight, sorry.)

I've been quite lucky to not have developed any really visible stretch marks yet.  The ones I do have are more on my butt and hips, and I can deal with those.  I mean, how often do I walk around in nothing but my undies anyway?!  

Hubby's been really good with adjusting to my increasing size.  Or more specifically, the amount of space I'm taking up in our bed!  I think I now sleep with about five pillows wedged into different bodily crevices just to keep comfortable and off my back.

I no longer fit any of my pre-pregnancy pants.  I invested in a couple of pairs of maternity jeans early on for comfort sake, and they have really been the best purchase so far, especially since the we're now in the middle of winter.  Shirts haven't been an issue.  I have a pretty loose, blousey style wardrobe anyway, so I can keep wearing my old favourites.  Bras on the other hand are a pain in my...boobs!  At about 16 weeks I'd already gone up a full cup size and underwires were becoming unbearable!  So after some really great advice from a new-Mummy friend I invested in a couple of decent wirefree bras.  And now I'm not sure I'll ever go back to underwire!!  

I've pretty much passed all the yucky early pregnancy symptoms.  My nausea settled around week 15, and now I only get the occasional bout and it's usually when I'm super tired.  Same story with those awful migraines.  I tend to get them more towards the end of the week when I'm worn out and have been sitting in front of my computer at work all week.  And my kidneys are now fully healed and I haven't needed any further antibiotics.  Thank goodness!

My biggest bug-bear has been lower back and tailbone pain.  This was something I'd been told to expect since I lost a bit of weight during the first trimester.  As my belly gets bigger, all the weight I'm gaining is going straight to the front of me, and my coccyx isn't quite keeping up.  As my hips continue to stretch and spread I'm hoping my tailbone won't ache so badly.  In the meantime I'm finding great relief by sitting on a heat pad when it's really bad, and taking warm baths.  I've had a couple of massages since passing 16 weeks, but they just make me feel nauseated and dehydrated.  Luckily Hubby doesn't mind rubbing the aching muscles in my hips and butt :)  

I have so many ideas for the nursery, but at the moment that's all they are!  We are going to have to completely gut our guest bedroom/study to make the nursery a workable space for Baby and that's something that will take us more than a weekend to do.

We have been incredibly blessed to be given a lot of the major furniture items Baby will need; a gorgeous crib and mattress, and a change table.  So a very big thank you to our generous friends for thinking of us. 

And we a have begun the daunting task of touring the baby shops for all the other big ticket items, like car seat, pram, linen, etc, etc, etc. 

So far it's all coming along really well.  I definitely think that as we have seen Sunny Baby grow and progress without any major hiccups, we have become more confident in this whole pregnancy thing.  I LOVE being pregnant!  It's the most incredible, life changing, body altering experience and I am enjoying every second.  And we're already half way to her being in the world!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The little Boobal that could

Third time's a charm is an understatement.  But as I sit here trying to compose the post I have waited my entire adult life to write, I am lost for better way to describe it all.  I have thought about writing these magical words a thousand times over, and I am quite overwhelmed to finally have the opportunity to do so.  I want to get this right.  I want to use the right words to accurately describe how amazing Sunny Hubby and I feel right now.  How truly grateful we are to be able to share with the world that we, after three years of pain, loss and confusion, are finally able to celebrate.  Because...

It is still very surreal to say those words out loud and in front of people other than just the two of us.  Feels like, if we say it, it must really be real.  And it has taken us quite some time to let it really sink in.  But as the weeks have gone by, and we attend each obstetric appointment and glimpse the tiny, precious little life growing inside my womb and hear its magnificent heart beat, it is slowly and surely becoming real.  

I am just over 13 weeks along as I write this.  I wanted to be able to write this post a lot sooner, however the first trimester has been jam-packed with experiences that have left me both exhausted, unwell and overwhelmed.  My morning sickness, or as I refer to it - general grossness, hasn't been as horrible as people told me to expect.  I tended to get more nauseated as the day went on, differing in severity depending on how much rest I got the night before.  The migraines on the other hand have been a bit of a struggle to get used to, knowing that I can only take paracetamol and not use my trusty wheat pack on the back of my neck.  But, up until week 11 I was feeling rather proud of the fact that I hadn't had any major dramas or let the first trimester grossness get the better of me.  Week's 11 and 12 were much rougher on my system.  I had consecutive days of severe migraines, caused by high blood pressure and low blood sugar.  Followed the next week with an emergency department visit for a nasty kidney infection.  I am just now finishing up a long course of antibiotics for my kidney, and very grateful it is nothing more serious.

I won't lie, I make a very anxious pregnant woman!  I get nervous about every little back ache or stomach cramp right now.  But it's something that I'm working on with the help of my wonderful Husband, Obstetrician and close group of friends.  We are blessed to be surrounded by so many people who have been where we are now, and they never tire (or at least they pretend not to) of hearing my silly questions.  Right now we are just taking this incredible experience day by day.  We are fortunate also, to have our fertility specialist as our Obstetrician.  He has been with us for 99% of our treatment and we couldn't feel in safer hands with this little one.

People say that once you have your prayers answered, it'll be easy to look back and feel that everything that led to that moment was worth it.  All the pain, all the confusion, all the anger, all the loss of faith in yourselves.  And I now understand that.  God has an amazing way of fulfilling our hearts desires.  We need only wait, in faith, for Him to show us when the time is right.  This last IVF transfer was difficult for us.  I was upset the whole day, sobbing in the car on the way to the clinic, thinking that this was our last chance for a long time and how heart-broken we would be if it failed.  But He heard us in our darkest moments.  He felt the weight of our grief and chose February 6th, 2013 as the day to answer our prayers.  And as I watch my belly slowly start to grow, and hear our tiny one's strong heart beat on the monitor, I have never been more grateful for anything in my life.  Every single second has led Hubby and I together, and this baby into our lives.  Nothing is more important now.



Sunday, 20 January 2013

The one where I get mad at God

This year is already off to a surprising and, let's say, challenging start.  Surprising in that I made enough real ovulation hormones to create a viable follicle and uterine lining and had an FET in the first week of January.  And challenging in that, despite all the positive signs and our doctor's enthusiasm, I got a very heavy, very scary fanny-blowout dead on seven days later.  

This loss feels very different from losing our first FET Boobals.   This loss feels very frustrating, very aggravating and also vindictive.  Problem is, I don't know why I feel like this, and I don't have anyone to blame.  And yet there is it!  I feel like we have been personally scorned and I don't know why.

Sunny Hubby and I have always had a strong faith in God.  We were both raised with Christian beliefs and have been mindful to include God in our marriage at all times.  We say our prayers, we give thanks, and we read scripture to enrich our daily understanding of the Lord's work.  And I was taught that when I pray, He hears me.  And that when He is silent in our lives, we are being put to the test; taught a lesson that will be invaluable to us for the remainder of our days.  God provides us with wisdom in many ways, but silence is by far the harshest of these.  And right now I feel like there has been radio-silence between the Big Man and us for way too long!

I know this post may spark up conversations in your own home, or may conjure thoughts that my faith is dwindling.  Let me reassure it is not.  I still wholeheartedly believe that God loves us and that we love Him.  It's just that right now I don't LIKE Him!  And I think that is ok.  I have a very open relationship with God.  We speak often and about all manner of topics.  I talk to Him while driving to work, doing to groceries, sometimes when sitting on the toilet even.  I tell Him about our lives (not that he doesn't already know every little detail), about our hopes and aspirations.  I say thank you and please.  I get cross at Him.  And then, eventually, I apologise for raising my voice or saying harsh things to Him.  My relationship with God is somewhat similar to my relationship with my Husband.  And I don't mean that like I think the two relationships are equal; more that both relationships thrive on open and honest discourse.  And so I treat God as is He were here, physically, living in our home.  Now of course I wouldn't say some things to God that I say to Hubby, I do add a slight verbal filter when I'm cross.  But, He gets the best of me, the worst of me, and the 100% honest version of me.  And trust me, right now He's getting it ALL!

I am mad that our FET's aren't creating lasting pregnancies.  I am mad that no one can explain why not.  And I am mad that this wonderful, surprise opportunity was dangled so carelessly close to our faces and then whipped away just as quickly.  And I am mad mostly at God for that.  And I think I'm mad at Him because I have no one else to be mad at.  Can't be mad at the doctors or nurses.  Can't be mad at the embryos.  Can't be mad at Hubby.  I have no one to blame, bar my dodgey uterus and ovaries, which is ultimately me.  And I am mad at me!  Never underestimate how infuriated you can be at yourself.  But I am also mad at God.  

Why?  Well, because I have prayed to God every day since Hubby and I were married (12 Sept 09) that He bless us with children.  Granted I did not specify a number or a time frame because we trust that He'll make the right choices for us.  (Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24)  After learning of our breeding difficulties our prayer remained essentially the same, but with a bit more specificity: please let us not lose another baby.  And for the last two years, that has been our daily prayer.  As God became more silent, we started to bargain with Him.  As the bargaining fails, we make more promises to Him.  Never committing to anything we couldn't achieve, never offering Him something we wouldn't deliver.  And as the silence continues you start to feel alone.  

Hubby has a much stronger constitution than I do about all this.  I think that's because he was born into a pastoral family and has been raised, physically, in the church.  My faith has been something I had to build of my own volition.  Something that I struggled with for a time, and came out the other side with full-blown Lord-loving.  Hubby likes to remind me that things can always get worse, and to see the positive signs in all things.  These are hard things to hear when you're down and out, and quite frankly feeling sorry for yourself.  But then this big sign comes along: *DING DING DING, YOU'RE A WINNER, YOU MADE YOUR OWN HORMONES!!*  And my optimism starts to recuperate.  

After praying one evening I came upon a bible reading that I hadn't explored fully before.  It has the story of Hannah, a barren woman who "poured out her soul to the Lord" to bless her with a son.  The Lord heard her prayer and granted her with a son, Samuel, "Because I asked the Lord for him". (I Samuel 1:1-20)  I have read and re-read this bible passage hundreds of times over in the last fortnight.  I have read it and wept, as I prayed that God would hear us now in our time of need.  I know that Samuel wasn't born straight away, and that Hannah probably spent night after night crying into her pillow the way I do, until her beloved son arrived.  But Hannah has become very personal for me.  Hannah has become a constant reminder that God does answer prayers.  And Hannah brought me reassurance that this little embryo might just make it.  

So when my period started so soon after the transfer I felt betrayed.  Betrayed by God.  I felt betrayed because He had heard Hannah and not me.  That He let another embryo die.  That my Heavenly family were gaining yet another baby that I would have to wait a lifetime to meet.  And above everything else, I felt betrayed because I know He has heard our prayers; I know that He feels our pain and anguish, and yet He remains silent when we need Him most.

My faith is not dwindling, but my heart grows heavier.  I have this well of grief and pain inside my heart that only one person can mend.  And that person is not just any person; He is the Lord.  


Saturday, 5 January 2013

'13 - Lucky for some? (farewell 2012)

I remember this time last year I was thinking how glad I was to see 2011 disappear.  With all it's ups and downs, surely 2012 would be a bigger, brighter, more positive kind of year.  
Well it sure was BIGGER! So I thought I might do a bit of a re-cap on some of the more significant moments of our year...

  • JANUARY - My awesome brother married his sweetheart in a beach side wedding, two days after our final attempt at IUI.
  • FEBRUARY - I turned 26!
  • MARCH - Hubby turned 30!

  • MAY - I began the long list of medications to start our very first round of IVF.
  • JUNE - We retrieved a massive 33 eggs during our first IVF egg pickup.  10 of those went on to become DAY 6 blastocysts and were frozen.  Physically I was a mess with a bad case of Ovarian Hyperstim and we weren't able to transfer back for a couple of months.
  • JULY - Hubby and I decided it was time to shake things up in our professional lives.  I started a new kind of nursing job, which I love so much.  Hubby went back to university to study business, communication and public relations.
  • SEPTEMBER - our first FET following three weeks of medications to build up my uterine lining.  We transferred back two of our embryos, and sadly lost them both.  We also celebrated our Third Wedding Anniversary with a coastal vacation.
  • OCTOBER - I  re-started the meds for FET, but unfortunately my body did not respond well and we were forced to cancel our second round of FET.  We took this as a sign that we weren't quite ready to start again with the emotional roller coaster, and decided to take the rest of the year off from baby-making.
  • NOVEMBER - We were very happy to learn that we were going to soon have a baby nephew.
  • DECEMBER - With a very frantic countdown to the end of the year, Hubby and I made plans to have a very quiet Christmas.  This is starting to become a running joke in the Sunny household, as every time we plan something "quiet" it turns into the exact opposite. 
    Christmas was a lovely day spent with my family.  I don't usually spend a great deal of time with them, mostly out of self-preservation after many years of family disputes.  But we were very nicely surprised by how much we got along with them, and I was sad to drive away from them at the end of the day.
    We also ended up with a house full of Hubby's family, including Ma and Pa,  several sisters, nieces, a brother and some aunts and uncles.
2012 has felt like a monster of a year.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of stress, high anxiety, and heart ache.  But I am grateful for every moment.  It was also a year that brought us the creation of our Boobals (frozen embryos).  A year that brought Hubby and I even closer together; stronger together; cemented us together.  It was a year that we felt overwhelming love and support from our family, friends and all of you who read this blog. 

We decided not to make a New Years resolution list for 2013.  Our only goal is to remain hopeful that soon we will have a baby in our arms, and to stay thankful for each other.  We weathered 2012 together and now we know NOTHING is impossible!

As for the baby-making plans... well we have been ever so pleasantly surprised already.  A recent trip to my doctor proved that my body has enjoyed the time off we gave it, and I have managed to ovulate independently for the first time in over a year.  We are taking advantage of the this new-found hormone surge and will do another frozen embryo transfer (FET) a lot sooner than we expected.  I will endeavour to keep you up to date with all that as it happens.  But, as I'm sure you'd all understand, we have our anxieties about another transfer and so my updates may not always be full of detail.

For all my blogger friends out there I want to say thank you for giving me something to read when I didn't feel up to writing.  You have inspired me to come back to my keyboard again.  Congratulations to the many of you who recently found out you're expecting, or have given birth to your bundles of joy.  I may not always comment on your posts, but I share your happiness with you nonetheless and am cheering you on from afar!

To everyone who reads my blog and has stuck with us since it's inception, I say a BIG, FAT THANK YOU!!  There have been times when I've wondered if anyone really reads this rubbish.  But then I read your awesome comments and see all the 'likes' on the FB page and I can't help but smile a big, goofy smile.  

Whatever your plans for this brand new year, I hope above all else it brings you happiness.  I am rooting for you all!  And I really do love hearing from you, so please drop me an email, post a comment, like me on FB or volunteer to guest post!

Happy 2013!