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Mum Life

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It feels weird writing this post. It seems like we have been talking about Baby Smith Number Two for so long. In fact at times the preparation to get to this day had seemed overwhelming. For those of you following along you may have read the posts, if not here’s a quick breakdown of the journey so far:

  • Laura needed to get to a BMI of 35 to be able to try at the clinic we used to have Annabelle
  • We initially planned to try in May 2020 but Covid!
  • This time around it was meant to be Laura’s egg we were using – until we found out she was almost infertile
  • We decided to try Laura carrying my embryo in a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
  • Laura lost 70 lbs to reach her BMI in time for us to have an appointment as soon as clinics reopened
  • Laura’s first womb check showed the lining is at 8.7cm but we can’t do the transfer till it was 9cm – second appointment needed
  • Laura’s womb responds to medicine and gets to 9cm
  • We found out that the clinic would start to let partners into the operation theatre mid-August
  • Our transfer day is the 25th of August – I can be there!

And so TRANSFER DAY!

The 2WW (Two Week Wait) from implantation until being able to test for pregnancy can seem like the world’s longest time. Waiting, hoping, wondering, wishing, there is so much emotion that goes into it, and it’s so hard knowing there isn’t much that you really can do to determine the result.

Of course, after throwing so much time, money and heartache into IUI and/or IVF, you’ll likely try any old wives tales, any advice going, that may help. So here’s what we did before our positive pregnancy test – disclaimer of course, none of this is at all proven to make a difference.

However, it can’t hurt, right? So here they are!

1. Pineapple core

Purchase a whole pineapple, and divide into 5 sections. Eat one section per day, starting on the day of implantation (or day of insemination if you aren’t doing IVF). The core of the pineapple is most important to eat, this is said to promote implantation.

2. Brazil nuts

Eat 6 Brazil nuts per day for 6 days, starting on the day of implantation. Brazil nuts are an incredible source of selenium, which is a mineral that helps to thicken the uterine wall, and a healthy lining aids implantation. If you don’t like nuts, as my wife doesn’t, I recommend grounding them up and adding to smoothies – she barely noticed them! Which brings me to my next point-

3. Smoothies

Green smoothies! We packed those babies with the pineapple and brazil nuts as above, as well as a half orange for Vitamin C, banana for potassium, spinach for iron, oats and chia seeds – we got as many nutrients into Sarah as possible per day, and actually continued making and drinking smoothies for her whole pregnancy to try to grow a strong and healthy baby!

4. Rest

Shortly after implantation, within 2-3 days, I couldn’t stop Sarah from sleeping if I had tried. She would nap anywhere, anytime. We quickly adapted so S could nap whenever she felt the need – after all, your body needs lost of rest and relaxation to grow a baby in general! So we would recommend doing as much sleeping as possible.

Some of the naps feature in the funny video we put together you can see in this post.

One thing that had come up a lot in our research was that it was a good idea to keep the womb ‘warm’, and to keep blood flowing to and through it as much as possible. So we channeled that advice into our final two points, 5 and 6:

5. Fertility yoga

It’s a thing! We found some fertility yoga videos on YouTube and did them daily throughout the TWW. The poses are catered to not put stress on the body, but to instead ‘warm’ the womb, stretch and relax you. Well worth it, and a fun 20 minutes to set aside all day!

6. Womb dancing

And finally, we would dance around the kitchen together to George Michael’s ‘Faith’ (his documentary had just come out, and it seemed relevant!). It was lots of fun and made for wonderful memories later on, the dancing (Sarah made sure to do some hip rolls!) helped warm the womb, and best of all, it made us laugh, which is so important during this often stressful time.

The TWW is a time of anticipation at what’s to be and excitement, but also of anxiety and stress, and it can seem to be the slowest two weeks of your life. As well as the above to help implantation, we found making the most of that time to be the best way to get through it. Plan date nights or days, go on family walks, pamper yourself, read a new book – distract yourself from the impending date, and make some fun memories on the way.

Did you do anything more or different than the above to try to get that baby to ‘stick’?

Just like Annabelle is two.

Okay we may have said that already. Our girl turning two has been a big event in our household. As Annabelle’s birthday turned two on a Thursday we had 3 days of celebrations.

We also put together a video of her last year. It’s half an hour long (in case you want to watch it) but there were just so many highlights.

Just like Annabelle is two.

Our little lady is a joy. Over the last year she has become a confident, independent, funny, cheeky, determined whirlwind. A fan of routine and making us laugh. Forever playing peek-a-boo and asking to be chased she is ready to entertain and laugh. Her speech has come on leaps and bounds and she knows enough to tell us exactly what she wants and how.

She is happiest with both Laura and I around but she’ll welcome guests and often insists on saying hi to everyone we meet.
We can’t wait to see what she’ll be like going back out into the post Corona world. One things for sure we will miss her constant presence when she’s at nursery (even if it is just for one day a week). She’s great fun to be around and one of my absolute favourite people in the world.

As parents we have asked ourselves many unexpected questions. Is it okay if Annabelle eats nappy cream? What if Annabelle thinks she’s a dog? Can a baby sleep too much? You get the idea. I’m sure if you are a parent you could fill a page with the bizarre things you’ve Googled.

Then there are questions you do expect. Questions you know you will ask and questions you know you will be asked by your child. We thought we would be waiting for Annabelle to grow up a bit more before answering some questions including ‘what do we call our private parts?’

What does it mean to be American?

I found out this week that Annabelle isn’t eligible to carry on my American citizenship – simply because she is not biologically mine & I didn’t carry her. This is despite the fact that Sarah & I were legally married when we conceived her, & that we are both on her birth certificate.

I supported her and my wife throughout her pregnancy, I imagined what my daughter would be like, when she was born I cut her umbilical cord, changed her first diaper, & was in awe of how we created something that beautiful. I’ve been up in the night with her countless times, taught her new things, by now I’ve probably cooked her as many meals as Sarah breastfed her. In no way is she less my daughter because she isn’t of my blood – but yet, that’s what the American government believes.

We are lucky enough to be Mum’s to our amazing Annabelle and Bisbee. However we had a plan that 2020 would be our year to, hopefully, start expanding our family. The reason for this post is to share an update on that because while having plans is great and all, it turns out not all plans work out. Ours aren’t.

Firstly because of unexpected news leading to Plan A not being possible.

Secondly because the world is not the world it was 3 months ago and so many things have changed.

Thirdly because infertility is now part of our story and this post will explain why a whole new plan is required.

As it is national infertility week it made sense to share this update now.

When we started talking about having kids, we had discussed that we would both ideally like to have one each, but planned on Sarah going first as she definitely wanted to carry (I was on the fence about it!) and she is 5 years older than me. We decided after initially wanting to try IUI, to do IVF mostly due to Sarah travelling a lot for work – we found IVF much easier to plan our lives around, whereas with IUI twice Sarah ovulated on the day she was heading to an important meeting or away was for work!
I didn’t feel at all concerned about not having a biological connection to my child – I think maybe it was because from early on we knew that if we were to have kids that it would be likely the case for one of us (whether it was through one of us having the child, or if we’d adopted), it wasn’t something I spent much time thinking about. Also, I love Sarah with all my heart so I knew it would be incredible to have a mini-her running around!