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!!