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Conceiving with PCOS

To be told that you may struggle to conceive and that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to have a baby isn’t something any woman wants to hear.

But to be told that you “shouldn’t leave it too long” to start trying when you’ve been in a relationship for just over 6 months is just plain awkward.

I’ll take you back to October 2011, I was 24 and my boyfriend (now husband) and I had just got back from our first holiday when a routine ultrasound scan of my bladder to try and solve the mystery of why I was suffering from so many UTIs (which to this day, remains unsolved) revealed I had polycystic ovary syndrome. The symptoms had always been there (I had, on average, three periods a year that lasted weeks and were insanely heavy) but I hadn’t even thought about trying to get to the bottom of it, at the time my constant UTIs were the more pressing issue.

The consultant then said I shouldn’t leave it much more than a couple of years to try to conceive as the condition would only get worse over time.

So no pressure then…

I then had to go and discuss with my boyfriend that his new girlfriend was “reproductively challenged” to quote Sex and the City, and let’s face it, having THAT conversation so early on could very easily produce a man-shaped hole in the door.

Luckily Now-Hubs was great about it and suggested I get a second opinion, and I’m so glad I did. At this point, all I knew of PCOS was that women who had it really struggled to get pregnant, so all I could envisage were bleak years ahead of us with an endless stream of negative pregnancy tests.

But the wonderful consultant at our nearby Park Hospital not only reassured me that there were plenty of options for women with PCOS, but that the original doctor was irresponsible and out of line for telling me  to hurry up and have a baby when I might not be ready.

We discussed my options and decided to try me on fertility drug Clomid, which I had to take on days 5 to 9 of my cycle and would essentially make me ovulate, when we were ready to start trying. We decided we were ready to try in July 2014 and after the second cycle of Clomid, I took a pregnancy test on Christmas Day that year and it was positive!

My point is that PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean infertility. It might not be easy to conceive, but there are so many treatment options out there now, it’s absolutely not hopeless. If it worked for me, it can work for anyone – although my husband is convinced he’s just got super strong swimmers!!

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Ella’s Kitchen vs my kitchen

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I have a question. Why are the Mumzillas so up in arms about giving babies a pouch or a jar of food?

The reason I ask is, now Isla is 11 months old she’s eating a huge variety of food, both home made and pouched.
I do prefer to feed her my home made food, such as the pictured homemade cauliflower cheese and sweet potato bake which she loves, but if we’re out and about or just a bit short on time, we will give her a pouch of food too. But I’ve received some snidey looks from some mums for giving Isla a pouch. Why?
If you read the ingredients on the back of the pouches, there’s nothing nasty in there, just the same ingredients you’d put into normal home made food. For example the beef stew in the photo has only organic vegetable stock, organic veggies and beef, and some organic herbs, exactly what I’d  put in if I was making a meal for Isla.
Is it because we didn’t use our blood, sweat and tears to make it? Because making things a bit easier for ourselves is frowned upon?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making Isla’s food and it’s a nice feeling when she gobbles up my food. But equally I feel just as satisfied when she finishes any meal, as surely for us parents, the fact that our babies are getting fed is the important thing?
As long as we’re feeding our little ones healthy, nutritious food does it really matter where it came from? Whether it came from Ella’s Kitchen or my kitchen?

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Things not to say to a pregnant lady

Pretty much as soon as we announced that we we having a baby, I’ve been deluged with “helpful” advice, comments about my weight and declarations of how hard our lives are about to become. Granted, who the comment comes from and how said comment was phrased has been met with different reactions. For example my friends calling me fatty is fine, because I was a trim size 8/10 BC (Before Child), but people I hardly know commenting on my weight is a big no-no. Certain things I feel you just shouldn’t say, and quite a few comments I had during my pregnancy rankled. Here’s just a few of my “favourites”

– “What will you DO if it’s twins?” (From a friend of a friend just before my 12 week scan…well, it’s not like I can send one back is it?!)

– “Wow, that’s a big bump! Are you sure you’re only 16 weeks?” (From a woman I met at a conference. No love, the midwives and doctors have got it wrong.)

This was bump at 16 weeks, it’s not that big is it?!

– “You’re definitely having a girl because your hips have spread” (well thank you wife-of-acquaintance-I’ve-met-once for your kind words, my self confidence about my growing body has just sky rocketed.)

– “You’re going to be breast feeding?! Good luck, it’s so hard, I had to give up at 2 weeks!“ (Well doesn’t that fill you with confidence! Thanks neighbour of my auntie)

– “You look really big and tired today!” (How kind of you to say friend-of-the-family, because that’s exactly how I feel. And now I feel twice as big.)

– “I had to be induced/have an episiotomy/Caesarian section/to be stitched from front to back. It was more painful than giving birth!” (Heard all of these from different people, which put the fear of Christ up me.)

– “”Don’t breastfeed, it’ll ruin your boobs forever!” (Absolutely, because that’s my number one priority, not my baby’s wellbeing.)

– “Oooh don’t eat that, you’ll never lose the weight when the baby’s born you know!” (Great, thanks. Take away the fun out of treating myself to some ice cream why don’t you?)

I wonder, have any of you other mummies had any similar comments that have hacked you off to? What is it about pregnancy that makes people think it’s ok to comment on your weight?!

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Keeping mum

When we found out we were expecting, obviously we were over the moon and wanted to shout our happy news from the rooftops.

Except we didn’t really, because I was only about 4 weeks when we found out, it was still so early so not only were we worried about telling people, we were scared to get our hopes up too.

Because of the fertility drugs I’d been taking due to my PCOS, there was a slightly higher risk of miscarriage, plus I’m a born worrier anyway so I was so nervous about, well, everything.

Keeping our happy news quiet was more difficult with some people than others. On Boxing Day, the day after our two big bombshells (see my very first post) we went up to Yorkshire to see Hubs’s family. Since they aren’t big drinkers, plus I’m well known for drinking a shit-ton of water anyway, it wasn’t hard to keep schtum there. But between Christmas and New Year we had a group of hard drinking, hard partying friends up to stay so it was much harder to keep it quiet. Especially as they had bought us a bottle of champagne to celebrate our engagement. I had to fake a kidney infection as to why I wasn’t drinking that night!

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Another difficult person to hide it from was my dad, as we went to spend New Years with him and my stepmum and when we get together, we normally enjoy a bottle of rose or two and then they get stuck into the port (not me though, I preferred a wee glass of Cointreau on ice normally, port is too heavy for me) and on NYE, dad had bought us a bottle of pink fizz for the occasion. My “kidney infection” prevented me from partaking and luckily, he didn’t question it too much. When we actually did break the news, he said he kind of knew anyway, fathers intuition and all that!

Not so easy was keeping it secret at work. Our office is a long room with most of the desks facing either side on or at the loos at the far end, so when we went back to work on January 5 the morning sickness was in full flow, so to speak. I suffered from quite bad morning sickness until 20 weeks, sometimes being sick 5 times a day and peppermint tea, which I usually love, made my stomach heave. So people at work twigged fairly quickly, particularly those who had children themselves.

I told my lovely editor in mid January and she was brilliant and kept it quiet, but as time went on obviously word spread, as it does in offices, and the knowing looks as I emerged from the loo for the fourth time in two hours became more frequent. I finally told a handful of people, including our MD, when I was around 10 weeks but it was such a relief when the 12 week scan came around in mid February! Not only was baby healthy and had passed the 12 week danger point (as it turned out, I was actually 13+3 weeks when we had the scan) but we could finally tell people. The cat was out of the bag!

So what other tall tales did you mummies tell to hide your amazing secret in those first few weeks?