Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I got naked for arts sake!

I did a naked public thing, a nudey rudey thing, an arty farty thing, a fatty gelaty thing!
Yep, this week I got my kit off at 8 months pregnant for a life drawing class.
Let's skip back a few years to when I was in university.  Life drawing classes were a part of my degree in Fashion Design. I remember being amazed at the confidence these life models had. Their bodies were all shapes and sizes, young and old, hairy or bald, a mix of flabby and thin. I couldn't have imagined at that stage in my life having the confidence to walk into a room of strangers, strip off and then literally "bare all" in the bright and awfully unflattering fluorescent light, positioned in various awkward and exposing angles. What possessed them to do it? were they desperate for the cash? did they get a kick out of exposing themselves? What gave them such confidence in their own imperfect natural skin? Whatever their reason was I was grateful for the chance to share the experience. I remember  one life model being pregnant and thinking it seemed to be an extremely liberating experience for her.  As well as very precious experience for us to be part of this woman's private and miraculous journey.

Skip forward ten years, here I was 8 months pregnant chatting to a dear friend over a cuppa. She was talking about how she and her daughter had just done a masters drawing class at the National Gallery of Victoria and that her daughter was now inspired to do some life drawing classes. This conversation had just followed one where I was saying how I needed a little bit more freelance work prior to bub's arrival. A flash of the memory above hit me and I thought well its now or never! With 8 weeks left before my bub was due I had just enough time to contact some life drawing classes and see if they had any vacancies for life models.

How my attitude to my body had changed over those years. I was the biggest I had ever been, the most out of shape, I had stretch marks on my breasts and hips and..... WAIT FOR IT.... I was almost 100KGS!! (98.9kg to be precise!). Yet the confidence I had within my own skin was the highest it had ever been. A combination of being confident with who I was as a person and amazed at my own bodies ability to grow another human being,,, I was no longer bothered if someone else saw me naked.

So how did the actual experience pan out... I started to get slightly worried the week of the event as a heat wave hit Melbourne and the day I was due to model was predicted to be 41 degrees! I was determined not to cancel, I was going to do this "rain, hail or SERIOUS SHINE". I arrived early at Atelier 451 (pictured below) and met the lovely Veronika who owns and runs this art studio in Melbourne's southern suburb of Ormond. She ran me thru the structure of the class which consisted of five 1 minute poses (which I would count in my head before changing position), five 5 minute poses (which I used a hand held timer for), followed by four 10 minute poses and then four 20 minute poses. Veronika informed me that usually her classes consisted of 6-9 people, but due to the heat she expected a low attendance that evening. It ended up only 2 people arrived (Veronika was also drawing so 3 in total). I didn't mind, it was an easy introduction to the process and less intimidating with only 3 sets of eyes sizing up my lumps and bumps. Due to the heat Veronika would kindly spray me with a cool water bottle every now and again (I felt like some kind of exotic plant in a greenhouse ha ha ha!). By the end of the class I was not bothered what so ever to be traipsing around the room naked, checking out people's sketches and taking a few snapshots of their work.

Snapshot below of the studio before the class begins (Atelier 451)
  Kit off, drawing begins
I took a few photos of the participants sketches, I love this one.
 It was fun to see one of the longer poses in colour (love that my hand is blue)

So will I do it again?... definitely! I really enjoyed the experience, in fact I already have another 3 classes booked at various locations around Melbourne in the coming 4 weeks that I have left before my bub is due to arrive. I will keep you posted on how those experiences pan out and endeavour to take some more snapshots from those classes to share. 

So how much cashola does this work cough up? The money was pretty low considering you were getting naked in front of a room of people... it is usually about $70-80 for the evening (for a 2 hour class). I  usually had to add a 2 hour return car trip onto that also as my house is out of the city. So I was doing it as much for the experience (with the added bonus of a small payment). 

To be perfectly honest sometimes pregnancy can be a little bit of a bore, no drinking or partying for 9 months. Appointment after a appointment with poking and prodding, blood tests, glucose tests, legs akimbo. Plus the discomfort of backaches, pressure on your bladder, sleepless nights. You are literally sharing your body with another being, you don't have control over when it kicks or moves, how big it grows or when it decides to change position. So this experience felt like a little bit of a rebellious thrill. My body is still mine and I am going to use it, share it and even get paid for it (cheeky!).

I felt proud of myself for doing something a little risque, I felt liberated that I had the courage and confidence to stand naked in front of other people with all my lumps and bumps and imperfections.

21 weeks scan, Its a ...

So we had decided to find out the sex of our "bean" at the 21 week scan. Both my husband and I really wanted a girl. For me I had just always wanted to have a girl. It was probably the idea of playing cutesy dress ups (like a "real grown ups" version of playing dolls) combined with having your own "mini me". It also seemed like it would complete the journey of being a "real woman", having your own daughter. I know all of those reasons seem a bit shallow and superficial... but if I am being completely honest that is just how I felt. Of course first and foremost a healthy happy baby is the most important thing.

In our family there is only 1 boy cousin on either side. So perhaps another aspect was the familiarity with seeing lots of baby girls growing up. Whatever the reason I was dead set on having a baby girl.
We arrived at the scan early, waited for our name to be called and headed on thru to the dark little scan room. This time around I actually had a considerable belly bump and all the pushing a prodding of the scan wand was most uncomfortable. At the 21 week scan the Sonographer is checking and measuring all the vital organs and the scan takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. As he talked us thru each organ he was checking I found myself holding my breath until the all clear was given. They are checking things like organ size, blood flow and scanning for defects. You start to realise how delicate this little being is and how many things can go wrong... it truly is amazing that we can grow humans inside of us!

After about 30 minutes the Sonographer asked us the BIG question of the moment...

Sonographer: Do you want to find out the sex?
Me: YES! PLEASE! I thought you'd never ask
Sonographer: Do you have any predictions? or preferences?
Me: We would both prefer to have a girl... but in the last week or so I really feel like its a boy...
Sonographer: okay last bids, what is it going to be?
Me: Boy
Andee: I may as well bid opposite, Girl
Sonographer: Okay... lets have a look (he held the scan wand sitting just above the babies groin region and pushed in closer so the area came into full view) Your havingggggg...... A BOY


Andee and I look at each other, tears well up in my eyes, we both don't know what to say.


A tear starts to roll down my cheek... I feel awful, I shouldn't be crying, I should be happy that he is healthy. I feel embarrassed and silly for being upset. 
Andee: Next time... we will have a girl next time
The poor Sonographer moves on to checking the rest of the things on his list. There is an awkward tension in the room. Andee squeezes my hand for support and I try to hold back the tears running down my face. The sonographer asked me to go out to the toilet for a quick wee break and a little walk around. He needs to see if the babies bladder is filling up and emptying the amniotic fluid and sometimes doing these activities will speed this process along. I head out to the hospital toilet with Andee following me. As soon as the toilet door is locked behind me and I am alone, I sob and sob and sob and sob to myself. I feel awful that I feel sad, I feel terrible to the baby (please don't listen baby, I will get over this and I will adore you and I will look back on this moment and think how silly I was). But for that moment I just had to let it out. I wanted to share this story because it was true and raw emotions, it wasn't something I was proud of, or that I expected to feel, but it was real and that's life.
The good, the bad, the ugly, the embarrassing, the sad, the funny, the bliss and the pain... Life.

It took me about 24 hours to adjust to the news and another week or so to really not mind and then probably another few weeks to start to get really excited about having a little boy. I had to replace those pre-conceived girly dreams of dress ups, doll houses, barbies and shopping with lego, trucks, bikes, insect collecting and tree climbing. Yes I am being a little overly presumptuous about "gender" orientated games (more than happy to play barbies with my son if he wants :) ).

So that was that, we were having a little boy. I packed away all the pink and girly items I had collected along the years and pulled out the boy items. I started to think about colours and the nursery design. Plus we instantly narrowed down the names list by 50%!!

Here is the second peak at our little man on the 3D scan this time...

A little glimpse of our mini man
 Cute little button nose!

Now it was time to get busy designing the nursery. This is where I feel most comfortable, designing, researching, colour palette's and inspiration boards, FUN!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wiggles and Wees...

Most experts advise you will start to feel your baby move between 18 to 20 weeks for your first baby (and anywhere between 15 to 18 weeks if you have had a child previously). The official terminology is "Quickening" and are quite often described as a "butterfly" or "flutter" type sensation. 

As I arrived at the 18 weeks point I monitored any movement inside my tummy/abdominal/womb region with great scrutiny. But these were all just gas and digestion at this stage (charming I know). It wasn't until 19 weeks that I felt the real deal. I didn't think it felt like a butterfly at all, to me it felt like a bubble popping inside of me. Like the tiniest bit of pressure and then "POP" goes the little bubble/baby. 

At this stage the movements were so light that nobody else could feel them from touching my belly on the outside. It was just a precious secret language between me and my little bean. At the time I was doing some freelance work, sitting at a desk in front of the computer for most of the day and these kicks were like a covert morse code that only I was privy to. I would sit and hold my belly and feel a warm excitement. It felt special, I felt lucky, it was something only to be experienced between myself and my unborn child. Something which had never happened before... and would never happen again (not in the same way or between the same two beings).

Around this time some of the down sides of pregnancy had also started to kick in. Backaches, reflux, constant peeing, sleepless nights (sleepless nights from constant peeing!) and pelvic pain (which I referred to as "flap" pain, or "mc-flappy", because... well... basically my left labia hurt. Sorry, there was no other more glamourous way to describe just that. It was a deep bone ache (I guess like arthritus??). 
It made getting up out of bed or out of a chair quite painful and difficult. As each of these new discomforts or ailments would begin I would turn straight away to trusty ol "Google" to read of other women's accounts of these pestering pains. Why had I not heard about them before? Had I chosen not to hear the negative side of pregnancy? I mean I'd heard of "morning sickness" (which thank my lucky stars had seemed to pass me by unscathed). But these other things seemed like the "suffer in silence" ailments that nobody talked about. Let me make this VERY CLEAR, I did not do well with "Suffering" or "Silence" for that matter (which means A) My husband listens to a LOT of complaining and B) My blog is very honest). I counted on one particular night that I got up to pee during the night 15 times (so in an 8 hour sleep time period I was averaging 30 minutes between wee breaks). Needless to say I was getting grumpy!

Perhaps my body was trying to prepare me for the sleepless nights ahead... or perhaps my baby thought my bladder was a jumping castle? either way I had a feeling that life would never be quite the same again...

 20 weeks! Can't believe we are already half way!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Name Game...

I have always had a short list of favourite names scribbled in the columns of diaries or front covers of notepads. I remember as a girl calling my doll Siobhan Rose (pronounced Shi-vaun). In teenage years my favourite girls name was Bella Wilde (notice only girls names... because that was what I was going to have "of course").  With the release of the teen-emo-glam-vampire trilogy movies "Twilight" (with the lead character named Bella) that name had to be removed from my list.

I spent many evenings pouring over name books and google searching name meanings. I loved refining and re-refining my extensive list of quite alternative names. I also loved pairing these with quirky middle names too. The whole process was exciting, creative and fun to think you were responsible for gifting a new human to the planet their very own name.

I did not want anything traditional. No "Matthew, Mark, Luke or John", no "Sarah, Jessica, Anne or Elizabeth" would ever be my child's name. There was also one other slightly important factor in all of this... oh yeah, my husband's opinion. I would spend hours coming up with new names to add to my list, only to read these aloud to my partner to have them "poo, pooed" almost instantaneously. I would get annoyed and say "well what names do you like then?". He would usually have no names to add, just a "I don't know,,, but none of those!" (Ugh! Men!). I think in the beginning we both instantly dismissed each other suggestions without even considering them as possible options just purely because we are both such strongly opinionated personalities and whoever ended up choosing the name had somehow WON the competition. We eventually started to realise that at some point a name needed to be agreed on... so we needed to soften a little and contemplate some of each others suggestions.

I have decided to share with you my favourites list below. Maybe, just maybe, our unborn little one's name is hidden on the list somewhere... We will have to wait and see ;)

Willow Valentine
Kiki Star
Stella Noir
Minka Belle
Audrey Noir
Valentina Noir
Ewa (pronounced "Ever")

Artee (pronouned Art-tay)
Taki (pronounced tarki)
Takoda (friend to everyone)

I am proud of the alternative list of quirky names above and happy to share them with you. [NOTE TO READER; If you are one of my friends or family, please keep in mind these are my possible choices for this baby and future babies. If you consider using one of the names on here just keep in mind I may still use it too. 

I will leave you with this fun piece of writing from the fantasy fiction book "The Assassin and the Underworld". A fun and playful piece about names...

“What's your name?" he asked above the roar of the music.

She leaned close. "My name is Wind," she whispered. "And Rain. And Bone and Dust. My name is a snippet of a half-remembered song."

He chuckled a low, delightful sound. She was drunk and silly, and so full of the glory of being young and alive and in the capital of the world that she could hardly contain herself.

"I have no name," she purred. "I am whoever the keepers of my fate tell me to be."

He grasped her by her wrist, running a thumb along the sensitive skin underneath. "Then let me call you Mine for a dance or two.” 
― Sarah J. MaasThe Assassin and the Underworld

The 1st scan (Its a....Bean)

The 12 week wait was finally over! The appointment was booked for 9am, my hubby had scheduled the day off work, we were up early, showered, fed and ready to go.

We arrived early, filled out the relevant paperwork and took a seat. We scanned the other expectant mums in the waiting room (guessing how many weeks they would be judging by their size). Perused the posters on the walls with week by week size charts to see where we should be on the growth spectrum. Then waited as all the other patients were filed thru first. We could hear the ultrasound machine start up each time with that scratchy static sound, followed by a hollow echo and time stood still before the beating heart was located and sounded down the corridor. I was genuinely nervous, I really felt like they were going to scan my womb and find nothing, no heartbeat, no baby. Whether this was me overrating or just my bodies way of trying to prompt coping with the worst case scenario (if that be the case) I don't know. I guess the idea of growing a human inside you is almost so unbelievable... such a miracle, that my mind could hardly comprehend that it could be real.

After waiting for an hour past our scheduled appointment time we were ushered down the corridor into the dimly lit cosy ultrasound room. I undressed, robed up and had my belly lubed ready to go. Those few seconds as the ultrasound wand circled around searching for a sign of life seemed to take forever. I held my breath and waited... and then slowly a grainy blob-like bean came into view with a butterfly flutter of a heartbeat and tears filled my eyes. I leant over to hold my husband's hand and the Sonographer informed me to stay still, that it was hard to keep the view focussed when you moved and that we could hold hands afterwards (UMMMM kill-joy matron! We just made a modern day miracle here!! give me a teary moment to stroke my husbands hand!). The relevant measurements were taken, all seemed to be in working order and we were given a dvd copy plus some print outs to take home.

Any questions? she asked as we were wrapping up... "ummm if we wanted to know the sex, not saying we do, but if we did... could we find out now?". In her professional "matron-like" style she informed us that personally she preferred not to tell couples at this point as it was only a 70% chance of being correct and she would rather wait to be 100% correct at the 21 week scan. [This being said, most of my other friends who have asked at this first scan have been told and as far as I know have all been correct]. I always thought there was no way I would EVER find out what I was having. My whole life I imagined that I would want the surprise of finding out the sex to be the icing on the cake after the possibly traumatic birth experience. But after seeing that first scan I knew, I wanted to find out as soon as I could!

Profile view, it looks like our lil bean is smiling
(excuse the scratched image, I carried it around in my wallet for a few weeks before sticking it to the mirror in our bedroom)
Our little bean was hiding its face (my child, shy? surely not..)
So there it was, it was true, there was a small human growing inside me. As unbelievable as it was it was really happening. I kept looking at these snapshots all afternoon, studying the grainy blob-like features. 

That evening I skyped my parents (who live interstate) and waited until they were both in front of the screen to flash the scan photo over the video. Whoops and Yelps of excitement followed!! This little human was to be the first grandchild on both sides of our families which makes it even more exciting and special. I think my mum was just as shocked that I'd kept my mouth shut for 12 weeks as she was excited about the news!!

It was a relief to be past that first trimester milestone. It looked like another waiting game began until the 21 week scan when we could find out what we were having. But for now we were calling it "Bean". I loved Bean already...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Our pregnancy was confirmed by my GP and we had the arduous wait until the 12 week scan for the "all clear". Being the "loud mouth personality/heart on my sleeve" gal that I am, usually everybody knew what I was thinking (good,bad & the ugly) at all times. But after our slow start to the baby proceedings I was a little more cautious about telling people.
Normally my first point of call for all gossip is my hubby, mum & best friend. Due to my parents living interstate I decided to keep it under wraps from them, as a BIG SURPRISE once we got the all clear. My hubby "of course" was the very first to know. Next point of call was my besty. After work the following day I called her whilst I was driving home, she was still at work and didn't suspect a thing. Of course she knew we had been trying, but after the first 6 months with no positive results we had put that topic on the back-burner. Our conversation resembled something similar to the script below...

Bron: How was your day?
Bianca: Agh fine, I am still at work, will be here awhile yet...
Bron: Well.... I have something exciting to (Bianca interrupts)
Bianca: SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! ahhhhhhh...
Bron: Yep,, I can't believe it, I
Bianca: OMG, I am crying, no way.... I am going to be an aunty,,,, AHHHHH
Bron: I did five tests already 
Bianca: My colleagues think I have lost my mind, I am standing at my desk crying and shouting! 
Holy crap you're going to be a mumma! (directed at the office; Sorry office, nobody has died, my best friend is pregnant!! ahhh I am going to be an aunty!!!) oh crap I am not supposed to tell anyone else yet am I?... don't worry nobody here knows us.
Bron: Yeah I am going to keep it under wraps pretty much until the 12 week scan, if I can manage it. I am guessing I am 5 weeks already. 
Bianca: Right! Champagne and celebrations are in order!!!... Oh, wait, you can't drink... 
Bron: I know, devastating, how will I survive 9 months? 
Bianca: Don't worry, I will have your share ha ha. Can't wait to give you 2.. 3 a hug ASAP! Love ya
Bron: Love ya too.

Below is a snapshot of Bianca and myself at her 30th birthday celebration this year. We have known each other since year 7 (17 years of up's and downs, adventures and fights). Love ya guts! xx B
(I was 3 months pregnant in this shot)

So the waiting game continued.

I was given the general run down from my GP on foods, drinks and medicines to avoid. Alcohol, soft cheeses, rare meats, soft serves, Sushi, bain marie foods, ham, raw fish... (basically all the yummy gourmet's). Not being a lover of "rules" myself, I stuck to it loosely (I was stricter in the beginning and loosened up along the way). I have definitely missed having Sushi!! such an easy lunch/snack option when you are at work or on the run. 

As far as the "morning sickness" was concerned I somehow managed to pretty much avoid it altogether. I was expecting it to be awful. I was always the kid that got car-sick (who am I kidding, I still get car-sick). I tend to hold my emotions in my tummy and often get an upset belly. But most days I was completely fine. Occasionally I'd feel a bit nauseous and found I just had to keep eating to keep that feeling at bay (fine by me, eating is my favourite pastime). 

I spent my evenings googling everything to do with pregnancy, youtube videos of births & episodes of "One Born Every Minute" (the UK version is the best, the US version is horrendous, they seem to believe that birth can only be achieved with maximum intervention). One of my favourite episodes is from Season 3 Episode 4 (link below) where a gorgeous disabled couple give birth (get the tissues out for this one!! Her joking and positive attitude is brilliant and something to be admired).

I also perused various website's with "week by week" updates, scanning every sign and symptom as a comparison to how I was feeling. Two of those websites that I found good are linked below.
My husband and I found it nice to read these aloud together usually on a monday night, to hear what was install for the week ahead for our little Bean. 

I also found a couple of "week by week" pregnancy VLOG's (there are some really rubbish ones around, but I found "Pregnancy Chat" by Monika Healy to be one of the better ones).
These were also nice to watch together with your partner. They tend to only go for a few minutes, my advice is have it cued on your laptop and watch it together once a week, just before going to bed. 

I think it is much harder for the guys to get used to the idea let alone contemplate bonding before the arrival of the bub. Meanwhile for us women it becomes pretty hard to ignore. Physically we are changing everyday. In speaking to many of my friends that have had children they have also expressed a similar frustration, that they found their partner often not very engaged or interested in every lump, bump, movement and symptom. My advice is be patient and try sharing the above reading or watching experiences once a week. It often really helped to reinforce to my partner that what I was thinking, feeling or experiencing was valid and shared by many other people by hearing it via these other forums. For example, when those sources pointed out things like "irritability", "nesting", writing lists of things you want to get done before the baby is born, when you should pack your bag for the hospital, suggestions to plan a "babymoon" escape, what to buy, slowing down, stopping work. It allowed these topics to be bought up by a third party (rather than you being the one to initiate it all the time) and validated that they were important things to consider (not just your frantic, emotional wife over-reacting again). 

So, the waiting game continued... for our first scan, the sneak peak inside... YAY!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Waiting Game...

So now it was back to waiting,,, waiting for results from the fertility tests, waiting to see if pregnancy would occur in the meantime... waiting for a sign?

At the time I was working in quite a high pressure job. I had spent my working career climbing the "creative/corporate" ladder to become an "Fashion Account Manager" designing and selling Accessories for a design company (which supplied large retail chains such as Target, Big W and Kmart). I managed a two million dollar account, was able to travel overseas once or twice a year for work and earned a very comfortable wage. The down side was the stress... and considering we were trying very hard for a baby (which didn't seem to be happening) I started to consider whether my job might not have been helping the situation.

I also felt like I wasn't "following my heart" (Ive never been big on "wishy washy" speak like this) but I had to admit that pregnancy, to a degree, was out of my control and I needed to look at all aspects of my life for possible influences both physically and mentally.

So one insomniactic night in May 2013 in a desperate attempt for answers, direction and meaning... I googled the movie "The Secret" and watched it at 3am (I know cringe, slightly embarrassed to be admitting that). Then I sat on my lounge room floor and meditated (at now past 4am). What I wanted was a baby, it needed to become my priority, I decided then and there to quit my job that very day.
Like a robot on mission (a slightly unhinged emotional robot) I went to work, typed my resignation letter and made a meeting with my boss. I explained my reasons with complete honesty, I cried, she cried and I gave a lengthy 3 month notice.

With that weight off my shoulders & mind I started to think about my next adventure.

6 weeks later I flew to sydney for the day with a colleague to hand over a large account with Big W. The day started super early, multiple coffee's followed, plane trip, car trip, meetings, car trip, plane trip (happy hour, a few complimentary bevvies were consumed) finally making it home around 11pm. I was thinking about pouring myself another glass of wine... but instead something prompted me to do a pregnancy test... my period was 4 days late (which was not unusual for me at all, regular cycles had never been my thing). I knew that testing was "optimal" in the morning... but I was sick of waiting! (plus, I was sure it wasn't going to show anything). But, Very slowly, a very dull second line appeared in the window... my heart started to pump a little faster, adrenaline raced thru my veins, I felt a little sick... okay maybe it wast time for another glass of wine.

I called Andee into the bathroom and waved the test in front of him, he looked at me in disbelief, was I joking? an apprehensive smile crossed his face, a sense of relief that all our efforts were not in vain. A hug, a kiss, with slightly teary eyes we jumped up and down. Andee's sensible rational thoughts kicked in,,, he didn't want me to get my hopes up, just in case.

(very slowly the 2 lines got darker over the next 2 days, I tucked these precious tests into the front of our wedding photo)
(I had to do 5, to be sure, to be sure...)
(below; picture wall in our bedroom, wedding photo with pregnancy tests still hangs on the wall)

One waiting game was over, and another began. The wait for the doctors to confirm a positive result, the wait for the "all clear" at the 3 month scan and of course the 9 month wait for the big "Arrival Day!!" FRANKLY, I COULDN'T WAIT!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Trying and Trying can get really Trying....

Okay I am going to travel back in time now to pre-conception...

After 7 years of adventuring the globe with my partner (now husband) Andee, we had lived in 4 different houses together, travelled to 16 countries, got engaged, booked the wedding (called off the wedding), worked our shit out, bought a house, re-booked the wedding & FINALLY got married...
we were as ready as we would ever be to start our own family.

I was super excited! Super keen and wanting to start trying ASAP! Just as soon as we had made that decision I was diagnosed with CIN 3 abnormal pre-cancer cells in my cervix and underwent a cone biopsy operation to have these removed. The operation went smoothly, but a few weeks later I developed a post op infection and started hemorrhaging (whilst on holidays!) my first trip in an ambulance ensued my dignity went out the window as doctors got in up to their elbows in my bits and I experienced an overnight stay in the maternity ward (seriously the maternity ward! seemed a little harsh when you desperately want to have a baby yourself). After a month or two of recovery I was back in working order and ready to get back on the horse... or bicycle?... (neither seem appropriate or relevant references under the circumstances).

I just expected it would happen straight away, I mean you spend your whole life trying NOT to get pregnant. It is drummed into you from school to use protection and if a slip up was to occur to promptly visit the doctor for the morning after pill. Stories would circulate about girls getting pregnant on their very first time, speculation would circulate about whether some random sperm left hanging out on a toilet seat or floating in a public pool could inseminate you (as to why there would be sperm on a toilet seat or in a public pool... my overactive imagination is running wild... please STOP!). Anyway, this gooey substance was obviously highly "contagious" and if contraception was not used pregnancy would occur almost instantaneously... surely... or not. In our case not.

Being the giant loud mouth personality that I am, everybody I knew, knew we were trying... even in my work place... in retrospect I would possibly keep that fact to myself. As the months ticked by passing comments ranging from "oooohhhh going home early cause your not feeling well... its not "MORNING SICKNESS" is it?"... to one shockingly offensive conversation where a colleague asked me if I was pregnant yet? and if not "Was my husband putting it in the wrong hole?" (she also continued by telling me that in her case her husband asked her what she wanted for her 30th birthday, she said "a baby" and nine months later to the day their first child was born! WELL CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! FERTILE MEDAL OF THE YEAR AWARD!!! 
Comments like this as well as the humbling experience of trying and not getting pregnant straight away had me questioning my own "loud mouth personality" and re-considering blurting out the first thoughts that came to my mind.

The following 6 months saw me tracking my period every month, calculating the optimal days to have sex and writing down every time we did. Sex became a scheduled and calculated interaction to combine DNA. I attempted to follow various medical predictors such as measuring my temperature daily (which I found I really couldn't ever "pin point" the ovulation days, it seemed my temperature  rose and fell fairly sporadically). I tried using the "Maybe Baby" device you can purchase from the chemist to test your saliva (again to predict "ovulation" days) I found it hard to clearly interpret the results. I also purchased online a box of "ovulation tester sticks" (these look and work very similar to the pee on pregnancy sticks, again to predict "ovulation" days) but again I never managed to produce a "positive" result in the test window.

After six months of trying we headed off to my GP to find out what the next course of action was. My husband Andee was super calm, he kept quoting the cold, hard scientific facts...
  • On average, 15-20 percent of all couples trying to get pregnant will not conceive in the first year of trying.
  • If the timing is perfect, the mucous is receptive, the egg is ready and the sperm are healthy, there is a 20-25 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally in any given month.
  • According to one study, 25 percent of couples get pregnant in the first month of trying, while 60 percent of couples trying to get pregnant do so within six months. This study also said that up to 90 percent of couples will conceive within 18 months of trying.
I understood the science and statistics of what he was trying to say, but it seemed all around me that people just kept getting pregnant... and I didn't.

So the next round of tests were checking that I was ovulating (by blood tests and an ultrasound at specific times in my cycle) and a sperm test for Andee. A slightly less invasive but more daunting/embarrassing task for him. I inquired on his behalf at the blood collection centre what it involved (I think I'd seen too many "American movies" of "sperm donation clinics" with white coats, collection jars and seedy small rooms with porno mags for inspiration). This test actually involves the male being able to do the sample collection in the comfort of there own home and then driving to the collection centre to drop it off. Sounds simple enough... although there are two other factors,
A) keeping it warm... its suggested to keep the jar either between your legs or under the arm whilst driving to keep the deposit at body temperature (We thought that was hilarious! having visions of being involved in a car accident, where the plastic jar cracks open and trying to explain why you have spunk under your arm to the police or other car load of people involved in the accident).
B) the collection times are very specific and you have less than an hour to get the sample there before it is no longer usable. This is actually quite tricky and a little stressful for the male as the time is ticking and pressure is on to make "said" deposit, get in the car, hurry thru traffic and fill out forms at a collection centre in less than an hour. 

With all of the above said and done, we just had a wait for the results...waiting was something I was learning to get used to.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Welcome to "The Unknown Adevntures in Mumderland"

Welcome to my first blog post on "Adventures in Mumderland". I wanted a platform to share my thoughts about my journey into motherhood and to combine that with some creative and crafty ideas. Two years ago I wrote a blog called www.365daysofcraft.com inspired by the movie "Julie & Julia" I ventured on a year long journey of designing, making and blogging about a new crafty creation each day. Needless to say I was a little burnt out by the end and required a well earned break!
Two years later I am 8 months pregnant with too much time on my hands, thoughts in my head and not a lot of energy to actually move... hence sitting on my big butt sharing my thoughts and ideas seems like a great option!
So Cheers! with a half drunk cup of earl grey tea in hand, Cheers! to "The unknown adventures of Mumderland"