Monday, 14 December 2009

Bob the Builder ...

It's been a weekend of workman-type stuff at House o' Crussell as Elly and I get stuck into the whole idea of nesting.

The cotbeds are up, the house has been cleared of cardboard - enough to fill the entire car on Sunday!! - rooms have been tidied, clothes have been washed, bags packed, PCs built (another story entirely), electronics squared-away and we even managed to go shopping, pick up the urn for Mr Rash's ashes, return some stuff to Toys R Us and lay a new paving slab outside the front door so no-one trails mud into the house.

Elly continues to get ever bigger which is great news, though she is getting tired very quickly these days and has good days and bad days. The bad days are quite nasty really, lots of stretching pains and heartburn and there's nothing I can do except administer bedtime back rubs which sends her to sleep in minutes.

The Christmas tree has also made an appearance but it's a bit shorter than usual measuring a stour 5.5 feet rahter than the 10000 feet behemoth we've installed in the past. True to form half the lights have blown but it looks nice, smells festive and Mrs Squeaks has had a good root around the base so it's a bit of a winner really.

And so we race towards Xmas Day and all's well so far. The Braxton-Hicks contractions have stepped down a bit, due in part I think to extended sitting on the sofa and an increase in water intake. Our only aim now is to keep the girls where they are until next year so we can avoid any early trips to the Delivery Suite. Keep going kids x x x

Thursday, 10 December 2009

(A right) Carry On Matron...

Almost at 30 weeks and we've had our first run up to the hospital. A couple of days ago Elly started to get quite nasty Braxton-Hicks contractions which increased in frequency over 24 hours to the point where they were almost continuous (Braxton-Hicks are 'practice' contractions which are thought to be the body's way of preparing for the rigors of birth but which can signal the beginning of early onset labour).

A call to the delivery suite at Frimley Park and a dash home from work on the train later and we ended up at the hospital in the delivery suite for four hours of monitoring and steroid injections to help bring the twins' lungs on - it's a precautionary measure but worth taking as it will help their little lungs to prepare better in case of early delivery.

The visit to Frimley was odd, if only for the fact it was the first time we've been there since Matthew was born. Back then, there was a special room for families with serious problems - the Silver Room - but it seems it's been removed to make way for more delivery rooms. I'm quite glad really, it was a reminder of a sad time and I want the twins' arrival to be happy.

Anyways, the outcome of the visit was a good one, the kids have had their steroid shot and they're both OK so we're praying they hang on for another nine weeks or so. The only slightly disconcerting thing was the doctor who insisted on checking to see if Frimley's Special Care Baby Unit could handle twins at 29/30 weeks or if we'd need to be sent further afield in the case of a sudden delivery. We've talked about it quite a bit, and if we have a say we'd like to stay clear of London even if it means a transfer to Southampton or Bristol - both fair distances away but much easier to get to than London.

In any case, we won't need to debate the fact as Lazy Lamb and Kung Fu Chicken (blame Godmother Shelly for those particular monikers) are staying put till they're good and ready - daddy has already had words with them about that!

Monday, 30 November 2009

28 Weeks ...

We made it! We made it to 28 weeks! In the cosmic scale of things this might not seem like a big milestone, but for us it's huge.

The girls are doing well and are kicking up a storm. Every night, about 9ish, Ell's stomach suddenly becomes massively active and it feels like the twins are kicking lumps out of each other - some of the kicks and motions are surprisingly strong - and it goes on until bedtime.

Last night was interesting, as I heard righty's heartbeat through Ell's tummy for the first time, it was quite weird and I did get a foot in the ear for my troubles (the baby, not Elly) but it was worth the effort!! Minor alarm broke out at bedtime when Ell woke up after an hour's sleep to find the kids had moved in such a way that her stomach had shifted over to her right - the bump was all lopsided and looked very odd but all is OK so we can live with that and smile about it.

I had last week off, hence the lack of posts here, and we spent days running around sorting bits and pieces out - we now have a new front step to help get the pram into the house, the Silver Birch in the garden has had a huge trim, hospital bags are almost ready, clothes have been bought, rails have been hung and a million and one other assorted jobs have been completed ready for the twins arrival.

We've even decided on their names but we're not telling anyone, so don't ask!!

I have to admit that after weeks and months of trying to ignore the pregnancy in case anything went wrong it's getting increasingly difficult not to get very excited. I appear to have developed my own unqiue set of pregnancy symptoms and blub like a baby at the oddest things and the strangest times - doesn't matter if it's a sad song on the radio, a baby outfit in Mothercare or even some TV ads, I just start filling up - it's annoying!!

Today, Ell ordered the cots and the pram which should arrive late this week or early next week. I think when they arrive it'll finally be time to admit to ourselves that this really is real and not a dream. It's hard for both of us but I think a bit harder for Elly. After the journey we've been on and the ups and downs of he last five plus years the realisation that it might actually work for us is difficult to get your head around.

Still, ten weeks to go and only ten weeks of stretching, pain and discomfort for Ell. She's been an absolute gem throughout the whole process, never complaining and never whining even though I know some days she's uncomfortable almost all the time - even when trying to get to sleep. I love you Elly Russell and I know you're going to be a fantastic mum to my daughters and a great companion to our kids.

Bugger, now I'm welling up again...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Scanning ...

According to the NHS we're in the third trimester, according to everyone else it's the last week of the second trimester. For once, I'm with the NHS...

Last weekend we went for another 4D scan so we can see what the kids are up to. Sadly, after 30+ minutes of trying we didn't really get the results we were looking for - according to the sonographer there was too little fluid around their heads, they've shifted position and they keep interfering with other so the pictures were a bit woolly. I guess we have to expect that given the cramped conditions they're in, but it's a little disappointing - especially when we'd got our hopes up for a good result. Still, on the bright side, the scanning company have agreed to give us another go in a week or so to see if we can improve on matters.

Most of the rest of the week has been spent trying to make the week go faster! I think it's finally beginning to dawn on us that the twins are really coming but we're still resisting the urge to REALLY start celebrating - maybe after 28 weeks we can relax a little more, until then it still feels like a slog.

We have, however, started buying clothes and other bits and pieces so the nursery is starting to fill with nappies, wipes and very tiny sleepsuits (also some really cute soft toys and a couple of dresses for weddings we're due to attend next year!) Pretty soon we'll have the cots and pram delivered.

Also this week, we're having a new boiler fitted. It doesn't sound very baby oriented but the old one dates to 1975 and I was convinced it was going to blow up the second we brought the girls home so we decided it was time to take the plunge and get it replaced pro-actively. The only downside so far is that we were without any form of central heating last night so it was flipping cold this morning.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Another two weeks

Due to flu and various other ailments, it's been two weeks since my last update (again). My nasal passages hurt like hell, I have a mild dog cough and on Saturday I managed to break a wisdom tooth on a Jelly Tot, but apart from that, the world is good!

The twins continue to grow at speed, Elly and I spend a lot of time now with our hands on her tummy feeling all the kicks and movements and there are some evenings when you can almost imagine they're dancing in there!!

For a couple of weeks we were also convinced we could feel them inside the uterus. Now and again her tummy would be hard and we decided it was a head/bottom/large bony bit sticking out, it turns out it's a Braxton-Hicks contraction - a sort of trial contraction - which happens quite regularly at this point in the whole pregnancy process - bah humbug, I liked it better when we thought it was the girls!!

Mrs Tink, our tiny little tortoiseshell cat seems to be pining for Rasher at the moment, for the last two weeks she's been off her food and won't settle, wandering around the house shouting at anything and everything. As I've been off for a week she's spent a lot of time sitting on my knee and I wonder if it's made a difference and settled her a bit. Yesterday she went back to her own bed on the landing for the first time and she even settled into Ham Time again. Poor old Monkey, she's stone deaf and for the first time ever, the only cat in the house, it must be very confusing for her. Fingers crossed she'll be OK.

In happier news, we're off for another 4D scan on Saturday and according to the latest pregnancy info they should have their eyes open so here's hoping for a really cool DVD - it'll be the last time we see them before they're here for real in February next year!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Missing pieces...

A lot's happened in the last two weeks and most of it hasn't been good.

On the positive side, my parents visited for a week and decorated the twins' room which was great. It's a dark beige colour with curtains and (as of yesterday) a rather spiffy sink unit for bathing the girls when it comes to bedtime.

On the negative side, our big fat white and black cat Rasher had to be put to sleep after we found he was suffering from cancer and one of our close friends lost her baby girl to PROM, the same time Matthew suffered at around the same time and in almost the same way.

I think it's impossible to describe how that feels, unless you've been there. It's a curious mixture of terror, anger and hurt - there's nothing you can do to change the situation and no way to make the baby safe. It's awful and it feels like someone is cutting your insides out with a blunt knife.

Our thoughts are with Tracy, Adam and Noah right now.

There's probably a lot more I could write, but to be honest, I can't think what it might be right now.

So, Mr Rash and little Florence, we'll never forget you. x x x

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Back-handed compliments

Finally, I've found five minutes to update this blog. For once, we've been so busy there hasn't been time to even think about it.

Last week was a whirlwind of hospital visits, Tuesday was the 20 week scan, Thursday was the Consultant appointment and Friday night was "Twins Night" at the ante-natal unit - one of a number of planned evening sessions where we meet with midwives and discuss the processes involved in having twins.

The "highlight" of the week came from Neil Elkington, our consultant, who told us on Thursday that Elly has the worst obstetric history he's ever seen. Given that the medical records for normal pregnancies are nice slim volumes about an inch thick and that Ell's is the size of War and Peace it's not *that* surprising, but still ... as back-handed compliments go it was right up there!

The twins night didn't really teach us much that we didn't already know but it was nice to go and meet up with other couples having multiples and to have some of our questions answered. It looks like Ell will be hospitalised for a couple of days post-delivery but at least they'll try and get her in one of the private rooms just off the maternity ward - as a mother of twins she qualifies for special treatment.

The hospital stay is currently my least favourite part of the whole procedure. Once the girls are born I really want everyone at home so we start being a family together in our own surroundings - I realise there may be good reasons why they have to stay at the hospital for a while (premature delivery, looking after Ell etc etc) but if there's no reason for them to be there I'd rather we were all home. Luckily Elly feels the same (if not more so) so I know that as soon as it's possible for me to break them out of Frimley Park we'll be introducing the kids to the cats!!

Elly's had a lot of growing and stretching pains this week as the bump gets bigger - almost daily it seems to be increasing in size now - and we've ended up going to bed really early a couple of nights as she's more comfortable in bed then anywhere else. I don't mind at all, if it's what she needs, it;s what we'll do but bed at 8.30pm is fantastically early - if it wasn't for my Xbox 360 (now nestled under the bedroom TV) I don't know what I'd do :) Thank you EA Sports and John Madden!!!

Oddly, as we get further into the pregnancy, time seems to be accelerating. The last week has shot by and next week we're at a baby show, a first birthday party and then my parents are visiting to help decorate the nursery - before you know it, it'll be November, then Christmas, then we can really start to gear up for the big day :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Another milestone passed this week, and another slight lifting of the worry blanket. We were at the hospital yesterday for the 20 week "anomaly scan" where the girls are checked to make sure they have the right number of fingers and toes and no signs of brain or physical abnormalities.

It's always fantastic to see them doing their thing at scan time but there's always a worry that the sonographer will spot something out of the ordinary. Happily, all was OK.

Twin 1 (she's at the bottom) is slightly bigger then her sister but to date has been the quieter of the two - we put that down to the fact that Twin 2 (from here on known as "wriggler") has more space up top and exercises herself enough for the both of them!

Twin 1 also seems to be a little camera shy - it took two scanning sessions to get her into the right place so her spine and face could be measured properly. No such problems for Wriggler who was as good as gold when she needed to be then embarked on an extended aerobics session so we could see every limb, digit and other body part - it's so good to see the girls moving.

Even better was the close-up when we got to see Twin 2 swallowing!! She was gulping for England bless her - apparently it's a very significant act as it encourages breathing and digestion :)

So, all-in-all it was a really good day. Twin 1 comes off a little worse from the deal as she's packed in tight and doesn't have as much free movement as wriggler but they're both OK which is fantastic news.

We're back at the hospital tomorrow for an appointment with the consultant to go over progress and then on Friday night we're back *again* for twins night - one of a series of sessions designed to help parents of twins prepare themselves for what's to come.

I can't wait :)

Monday, 28 September 2009

It's all in the names..

After last week's rant about ignorant halfwits giving us their bland opinions on what we *should* call the girls, we've now decided on names.

We wanted something distinctive, elegant and unusual but which wouldn't stand out in a crowd. We wanted something personal and most of all, we wanted something that would stop people from passing an opinion...

So, say hi to Frogmella and Spudulika.

Obviously they're not the real names, we're not telling anyone those until the girls are born and have been given their names by which time it's too late for anyone to have an opinion. Ha!

In other news, another week and things are still really quiet, which is absolutely the best we can hope for. In fact, it's going so well little Frogmella is kicking Ell quite hard, not hard enough for me to feel it yet (I am so jealous...) but we know she's there. Spudulika is at the bottom and towards the back so her kicks are much more difficult to feel so far but a heartbeat check on Saturday morning showed both girls have strong little tickers so we're all happy.

Another week down and 19 weeks to go,. Fingers and toes are still crossed but it's all looking good and I can't wait to meet my daughters.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Opinions everywhere

Who was it said "opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one but no-one wants to see yours"?

I went to get my hair cut on Sunday morning. It's a simple task, I tell the stylist what I want, she cuts it, I pay money, everyone's happy. So why was it the ignorant bint I got stuck with this week looked at me like a space alien when I said I was in my early 40s and about to have twins then droned about kids names, quite frankly madam, I'm not surprised your parents called you Belle, the only shock was that they missed the word "end" off of it.

For reasons I don't yet understand the whole thing has REALLY annoyed me, normally I wouldn't pay any attention to it but it's really got under my skin.

I'm massively excited at the prospect of our daughters, more so then I ever thought possible and I'm starting to get quite hostile towards anyone who criticises me, Elly or the twins. Maybe I'm just becoming overly-protective dad but it really sticks in my throat...

In other news, Ell and the twins are doing well and she thinks she's starting to feel proper kicks, which is fantastic news! I have to say I'm utterly jealous and can't wait to feel them moving but I've waited this long so I can wait a little while longer (just not too much longer!)

We've also sorted out our pram choices, it looks like the Leebruss Zoom is the carriage of choice after we spent the better part of an hour in Kingston last week playing with one. I am now an interim expert in pram put-up and take-down with a minor degree in pram navigation, best of all, it's not that expensive, especially when you consider it'll be carrying two little angels :)

Next week is 19 weeks and I'm trying not to think about it, Matthew's sac ruptured at 19 weeks so we really need to get through it and out the other side, it's an artificial milestone I know, but it's important to get it out of the way, once we have, we can shoot for 22 weeks then 24 weeks. Perhaps after that we can start to get genuinely excited for the future.

Come on little ones, stay healthy, stay happy and stay with us x x x.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Thinking pink..

So, our big news of the week is that we know the sex of the babies and they're BOTH girls!!

As one of three brothers (the other two having had three boys between them) two girls was, obviously, a bit of a shock - but in a good way :)

Last Tuesday we went for a sneaky 4D scan in Reading, we deliberately didn't tell anyone we were going as we wanted to check everything out for ourselves and get comfy with the result before we told anyone.

After a touch of confusion over what the scan package actually was and what we really wanted (thanks to the staff at Future Babies for their understanding and for sorting it all out) we discovered that both of the twins were female. Twin #2 was easy, she's always been a good girl and gave up the news easily, Twin #1, however, refused to play ball and for the longest time just sat cross-legged and sleeping in her little sac - is this a portent for the future I wonder?? :)

Anyways, after an hour or two to let the news settle in I got used to the whole idea of referring to the twins as "the girls". To be honest we were never that bothered over the sex of the kids, all we really want is two happy, healthy babies but the idea of being surrounded by women at Chez Russell is growing on me.

I've also started to become protective dad and have, to date, told three toddlers and a babe in arms that if they such as come NEAR my little girls there will be hell to pay. Job done I feel.

We spent the weekend at the parents in Hull, news of grand daughters was well received (to say the least!) and Nana Russell is already knee deep in knitting (she's wanted grand daughters for ever, so two at the same time is a bit of a winner).

So, we're into week 18, everything is going fine for the minute and I'm going to be surrounded by pink, horses and "girl's stuff" - whatever that is - in about five months. I can't wait :)

Monday, 7 September 2009

Week 17

It's been a fortnight since my last post, which is a little bad, but what the hell :)

Day by day we're slowly getting there, every 24 hours is a step closer to February 10 next year (the twins official birthday).

As I said last time, it gets increasingly difficult not to get excited but I'm trying to avoid until we get past the magical 24 week point in the plan - after that all bets are off!

The past couple of weeks we've been studying the fine work of SuperNanny Jo Frost in an effort to pick up some handy hints on controlling children. Days of scrutinising her tv show have yielded the following tidbits:

* Try not to live in a council house - almost all of the shows involve one
* Do not give your kids "showbiz" names - invariably, kids with silly or unusual names are more prone to being "lively" and unpredictable ie bastards.
* Make sure you don't live in a bungalow (otherwise, where do you put the naughty step????)

However, the biggest lesson seems to be, don't let them get out of control in the first place....

Anyways, mostly, everything is quiet in the house. Squeaker is 17 today!!! and we'll have a small kitten party featuring tuna and fish breath later on and we're off to my mum and dad's at the weekend for our last visit before the twins arrive. We were going to spend Xmas up there but Elly is already getting to the point where it's uncomfortable to sleep/move/sit down and Xmas is just too close to Birth Day for comfort.

To be honest, it's lovely that it is so quiet, no news is good news as they say and right now if there's no news it means the kids are busy growing - keep going little ones, February will be here soon!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Week 15 !!!!

Ok, so, I know I said I wasn't going to get excited but it just keeps happening.

We're into the 15th week now and although it's not been trouble free we're getting closer and closer to B-Day (Birth Day). We had our first appointment with the consultant last week and we're already talking about delivery dates - the official date is February 20, 2010 but with it being twins we can knock an extra fortnight off that date.

So, we're expecting the kids to arrive on February 6 next year (not sure of the time yet but mid-morning would be good!!) Bizarrely, to me anyways, we *will* be able to predict the time as the consultant said the best way forward will be a caesarian - by all accounts twin #2 can suffer quite a lot of trauma if we're not careful so as long as Elly is comfortable with being cut open, a c-section it is. From my perspective, anything that's quick, safe and painless for Ell and the twins gets my vote.

For the moment, that's pretty much it. We're still avoiding planning the rest of the pregnancy as it's still too early. I'll be happier when we hit 24 weeks, then I'll be ready to start the serious window shopping for prams, cots and the like. Until then the breath-holding and the waiting games continue - every day is one day closer.

The furthest I've got planning-wise is to prep my final two weeks of holiday time - looks like I'll take a week in October to decorate the nursery with my mum and dad and a second week in November when I plan to take on the living room. Oddly I'm quite looking forward to ripping the living room apart - maybe I'm going through a nesting period :)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Twelve week scan

Today was our 12 week scan, the day when the medical types tell us how the babies are doing and whether there are any problems.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous of the whole thing really, this time around I'm a big fan of the 'no news is good news' approach - if there's nothing to report then everything must be fine and it can blumin well stay that way!!!

I was expecting a 10 minute in and out appointment with a quick glance at the kids before being booted out and told to come back at 20-something weeks.

It turned out we were in with the sonographer for almost an hour as she tried to get Elmo and Grover (Elmo sounds so much better then Shady..) to play ball so they could be measured, which proved somewhat more difficult then you would imagine. For the first 10 minutes or so there was much bouncing, floating, nodding off and random arm and leg motions which didn't prove so useful to the lady with the magic medical wand but was fabulous from where I was sitting.

Both of the kids were terrifically busy which made for great viewing - I swear I could have sat there all day and just watched them doing foetal-stuff. We got some great pictures (see Elly's blog for them and for the technical details) and I even managed to spot Grover's umbilical cord.

It has to be said that as a result of their energetic display, I am now convinced they will be Olympic athletes or, at the very least, Nobel Prize winners., that level of activity can ONLY be attributed to very bright and physically active offspring and I refuse to hear any different.

We made it to twelve weeks, the next major milestone is 20 weeks, I'm counting the seconds...

Friday, 7 August 2009

I'm not fat, I'm a modern man!!

New research shows that some men can put on sympathy weight with their pregnant wives.

By all accounts prospective fathers can gain up to a stone in weight according to the survey from

Part of me thinks this is a load of old marketing tosh designed to promote, however, the sticky-out, slightly wobbly front part totally agrees.

Joking aside, it does make me wonder if there's more to this then meets the eye, though I don't suffer from morning sickness, swollen ankles and the like, I have noticed I've been plagued with ravenous hunger of late and, oddly, can get quite emotional for absolutely no reason whatsoever - very bizarre.

Ah well, today's Friday, two more days till we get to see the kids on Monday when we go for the 12-week scan - can't wait to say hi and see them moving about. We've tentatively nicknamed them Shady and Grover (for reasons I won't go into). Shady is twin #1, on the left of the scan pics and is usually to be found in an odd position that I can only describe as 'feet towards the scan probe', my suspicion is that Shady is a little girl. Grover, on the other hand, is side-on so you can see him in profile, at the scan the other day he was nodding his head and having a good old float around - I suspect Grover is a little boy.

Am I right? or mad? or both? I was hoping the sonographer might get an early guess in as to sex next week but I'm told it's far too early to tell but I'm keeping fingers crossed :) though quite honestly I don't care whether they're boys or girls as long as they're happy and healthy.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The bloody waiting ...

How is it that only when a woman is pregnant, bleeding can be "unexplained"?

We're almost at the 12 week mark now and once again Elly is suffering some bleeding. It's not bad enough to panic about but it happens on a semi-regular basis and it usually puts us on edge after the problems we had with Matthew.

Every time it gets "bad enough" we head over to the Early Pregnancy Unit and the ladies there do a scan to show everything is OK and now and again Ell has an anti-d injection because of her blood type.

But they also tell us there's no obvious signs of a problem and no obvious sign of any cause for the bleeding so therefore it's unexplained. In almost any other situation if the red stuff comes out of somewhere they're willing to find out why and it frustrates me greatly that this is just left to sort itself out.

I *know* it's still early, I *know* it's uncommon and I *know* there's not much can be done about it but it doesn't stop either of us from fretting - we might be 12 weeks in (one third-ish of the way there), but it just means the next 34+ weeks seem to stretch out for a very, very, very long time...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


When they tell you that pregnant women's immune systems take a beating, they never really give you a good indication of just how beaten they get.

Ell had to go to the doctors last night after a recent outbreak of boils. Until recently I had no idea what they looked like and it's quite amazingly horrid. On the surface of the skin there's not much to see, but popping the damned things results in mountains of evil stuff coming out - it's not great to look at when it's happening to someone else so I imagine it's pretty gross when it's your own armpit/leg that's oozing *shudder*

So, anyway, the doctor tells us that the likely cause of the boils is shaving as it tends to remove the top layer of skin and invite germs to get stuck in and the only "cure" is to stop shaving for the foreseeable future. To be honest it was all a bit of a relief as I was expecting dire portents and warnings of blood poisoning so I've got to do my bit now to convince my wife to stay away from the razors for a bit. This, of course, means my wife will become officially GERMAN...

In other news, we've heard precisely nothing from the hospital. I was led to believe that twins were regarded as a high risk pregnancy and we would, therefore, be monitored closely and have access to extended levels of care.

Instead, we qualify for bugger all and no-one seems to give a damn, which is just about right for the NHS and just proves we were foolish to expect anything less than listless disinterest - silly us eh? The only people so far who seem to have given us any care and consideration were the ladies at Frimley Park's Early Pregnancy Unit who went to great lengths to make us feel cared for.

Shame the rest of the Health Service don't feel the same way really ...

Monday, 27 July 2009

The passing of time

Dear Lord it's slow, so very slow...

The big problem (for me) with this pregnancy lark is that there are days and weeks when time passes almost in a blur, when it's busy at work and if we have a couple of evenings where we need to do bits & pieces it seems to gallop by.

And then are the days and weeks where time stretches out like something from a sci-fi movie and minutes last for hours. I've never been a hugely patient bloke, I do like things to happen now, now, now but even so...

I think the majority of the problem comes from the fact we lost Matthew at 22 weeks, it makes it incredibly difficult to settle into the pregnancy routine when there's constantly that hurdle in front of us and sometimes it does feel like the whole process is a series of hurdles - initial IVF treatment, then two weeks to the pregnancy test, then six weeks to the first scan, then 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 22 weeks, 30 weeks etc etc etc.

There seem to be a lot of "wise" people whose advice to couples expecting babies is to just sit back and enjoy the pregnancy and sadly, for us, I don't think that's ever going to be possible.

We will, however, take the frustration and the worry and impatience as it's all part of havign the children in the first place - it just means when they do finally arrive, it'll be all the sweeter :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

It's been a week

.. since my last post and a week is a long time in baby raisin' circles (or something like that).

It's also been blissfully quiet. Elly hasn't experienced any bleeding, there have no panics or worries, in short, it's been great!

But it's also been difficult to work. I find I have concentration difficulties at the moment and will open a web browser with a specific purpose in mind then find myself looking at prams or trawling through online forums for information - all a bit tricky really.

I have noticed one thing though. I always wondered what it meant when people said that women "glow" when they're pregnant, and I've never really noticed before. But looking at Ell the past few days there's ... something ... that's different. She looks healthier and more vibrant at the moment, there's a shine and a radiance about her at the moment that's just plain gorgeous. I, on the other hand, an still an old fat git and so have taken to my bicycle to get myself to and from the station during the day.

It turns out cycling is quite difficult (especially as it's been 25 years since I last got on one) and I've discovered that I am the slowest individual on the road - I was passed the other day by a man on a woman's bike and we was wearing SLACKS - oh the shame of it... It's supposed to be good for me but my right knee packed up on Saturday afternoon and throbbed with pain so I'm not entirely convinced about that, but the exercise should help in ensuring that I'm fit and ready come the day the twins finally pop out. They're Russell babies so I know it's going to be an "experience", but I'm looking forward to every minute :)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Another day, another panic

The problem with IVF pregnancies is that they're difficult both from the "can we actually get you pregnant" perspective and then from the "let's make sure we can keep you pregnant" direction.

Almost two and a half years ago, we lost our baby boy, Matthew, who was born too early at 22 weeks and sadly died. Between then and now we haven't had a successful round of IVF so the twins which are currently floating around inside in Elly are incredibly precious to us.

About 12.30am today Elly got up to pee (it's a pregnancy thing as far as I can see, eating tomatoes and peeing are staples throughout the day and night) and a huge blood clot fell out. In "normal" pregnancies there shouldn't be bleeding, cramping or any other form of pain and/or discharge but in our case there's often a little spotting - tiny discharges which are quite normal, for us at least.

However, a blood clot is something different and can indicate a miscarriage so it's not to be taken lightly.

To say that the world fell away was something of an understatement. It felt like someone had torn my guts out and what's worse is that no-one can or will do anything about in the middle of the night - at eight weeks they're too small to save.

So, we've had a very restless night, followed by an unplanned trip to Frimley Park Hospital to see the staff of the Early Pregnancy Unit.

Happily, all is OK and the ultrasound showed two healthy fetuses with good strong heartbeats, though both if us were reduced to tears when we were told all was OK. There's something utterly wonderful about watching two fuzzy shapes on the scanner monitor and I could quite happily have stayed there for hours watching our kids-to-be bouncing around inside their mum. What's better is that they've started to form little arms and leg bumps so they really are beginning to look like tiny humans.

When we finally got out of the hospital I posted a quick message to FaceBook, just to let family & friends know what was happening, the number of responses which came back claiming 'the worrying goes on for 20 years' was quite staggering, only thing is, whatever comes our way after they're born can never be as bad as the worry we've got now.

Still, we got through another day and more importantly, they got through another day - that's 24 hours closer to when I can pick them up and give a cuddle... I can't wait.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Into week 9...

Today, the twins are officially eight weeks "old" and are starting to look something like babies. It's an amazing thing if you stop and think about it, eight weeks ago they were 8 cells in size and now they're 10+mm in size and growing rapidly.

It's just one of the truly amazing things that happens during pregnancy, the others include major mood swings and terrible bouts of what's called "gas" - and that's just me ..

I expected Elly to be a bit teary given the changes that are taking place, but I seem to suffer bouts of "sympathy emotions" when it's almost impossible to to start blubbling like a loon.

I did wonder if it was, indeed, some kind of sympathy reaction but, when I thought about it some more, I suspect it's more likely to be stress-related. Every time there's a bleed or a cramp or a stomach pain my automatic reaction is to tense up and fear the worst- we've been this far before with Matthew, further in fact, and bleeding etc always signalled something dreadful so it's difficult not to fear for the worst, so maybe the odd emotional outburst is just my body's way of telling me not to be so bloody daft.

It sounds like a whine, but it isn't. Ell and the babies are the most important ones right now and I'm not going to stand up and start shouting "Everybody look at me, I'm so important and needy", because I'm not - they are, but it raises again for me an issue that's bugged me for ages - the seeming lack of any acceptance for the father during a pregnancy, but more in that in another post...

For the time being we're all fine. Forward planning has been started at a tentative level, prams have been previewed and we're slowly getting round to clearing the room that will eventually become the nursery. It's all coming together!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Prologue...

I'm a late starter with this blog, so let me explain...

My wife and I have been trying for years to have a baby. As a result of three ectopic pregnancies and various other issues and problems it hasn't been possible - we've even spent a small fortune of IVF.

Two and a half years ago we got our first ... success ... Elly got to 22 weeks before our little boy Matthew was born, he'd suffered a premature rupture of the membrane in his 19th week (his birth sack burst) and we nursed him through another two weeks before his umbilical cord prolapsed. He was born the day after the prolapse and his lungs were incapable of processing oxygen. We never got to see him open his eyes or cry or even move. It was the worst day of my life.

We've had various other attempts at IVF since then and even went to the US for IVF treatment as it was cheaper then here in the UK - for the full background read Elly's blog - there's far too much info to recap here!!

So, there you go, a brief intro to what's going on and from here on in regular babble from me.

Just so you know, we're having twins, they're currently seven weeks and six days in and I am so excited I can't begin to express it in words!!