Pregnancy – The First Trimester

 

I’m pregnant! To be able to say that feels like a dream. But I am finally there and I am currently 17 weeks along. The journey has been rough. It started nearly five years ago. Logan is now six, and we wanted to have another child close in age. Having already got our eldest who is 14, the bigger age gap can be quite present at times. However, I can finally right about this pregnancy first trimester and how I have been feeling.

A little background

As the story goes, it didn’t go that way for us. And four years ago I had an ectopic pregnancy. Our first loss. Getting pregnant didn’t seem to be happening as easy for us, and I didn’t see a positive pregnancy test again until May and then September in 2017. However they resulted in miscarriage. These are things I know I want to talk about further, but for now I felt like it was best to give a little background. Since the last loss two years, I have been under the recurrent miscarriage clinic and had a lot of investigations done as to why this is possibly happening. There is no definitive answer. But I have a uterus dydelphis and so the hospital have said it could be that. I will go into more detail about that but for now, this post is all about the fact that from October 2017 until July this year, I had no joy. But it is finally happening. I got the positive pregnancy test.

So how have I been feeling?

The first trimester has been amazing, but it has been tough and there is no point in beating around the bush with that. I think the main issue I worry about is sounding completely ungrateful for this pregnancy. The anxiety has been immense. I guess that is to be expected. There will always be a worry about loss again. It’s happened three times before, and some days I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t happening again. 

To help me through those first 12 weeks the recurrent miscarriage clinic prescribed me with progesterone pessaries to be used twice a day, morning and night, and also Tinzaparin sodium injections to be administered into my stomach once a day. Injections are not my thing, and even though I have had millions of blood tests and injections alike, they still give me all of the fear. This was a big hurdle for me, to actually administer those injections myself, and I managed to do it. 

What symptoms did I have?

The symptoms have been there. I struggled with sickness in those early weeks. It wasn’t necessarily always being sick, it was more the feeling of sickness. I think it can be best described as a similar feeling to an intense hangover the morning after a big night out. The sickness, the heavy head, the dehydration but not able to stomach much. The weariness and how it can make you feel not quite there. I hope that makes more sense. It did start to fade around week 14, and thankfully since, I have only had the odd off day.

The tiredness in this pregnancy first trimester has been a big one for me. It is something that I am still struggling with now. I seem to feel tired first thing. But it doesn’t stop me from getting up and as the morning starts I seem to regain energy and can be very productive. But come the afternoon, I can hit a brick wall and all of a sudden I feel exhausted. Some evenings I climb into bed and I am asleep before I even know it. 

Every twinge gave me a panic

I will be honest, every twinge, any little cramp or anything of that nature had red flags going up in my head. Twinges and cramps can be completely normal parts of pregnancy first trimester as things are changing in your body. But it certainly doesn’t stop you thinking the worst. I did have these sorts of niggles throughout the first weeks, but with no sign of spotting or bleeding I tried to put the worrying and anxious thoughts to the back of mind. 

Last of all, I really struggled with headaches. I remember this from my first pregnancy with Logan. The headaches are at the front of my head and they just get more intense as time goes on. Again this is something that has faded off now, and I am hoping it stays that way. 

The mental impact 

Mentally, throughout this pregnancy first trimester, I was surprisingly positive. I was very fortunate to be monitored from the moment I had my positive pregnancy test. I had HCG blood tests done, a scan at just over 5 weeks, and then continuously being monitored and checked. The scan at 5 weeks did give us something to think about. As I have two womb chambers, there was a shadow in the other side which they thought could have been another baby. Twins. But two weeks later it remained that way and we were confirmed with one and a heartbeat. Which was a relief and miracle in itself. 

I have just tried to put the past experiences behind me, and to really take care of myself and I have a fantastic support network around me for that. Maybe I was in a better place physically and mentally before I even got pregnant. I know I have made some positive changes to my lifestyle this year and perhaps that had a positive effect. I was ecstatic, scared, but the happiness overshadowed the feelings of worry and I just took each day as it came as a blessing. Now 17 weeks on and I am still doing the same. 

I will be back with some more updates and hopefully revealing the gender of this little baby. Look out for more posts. 

Reward Charts, Discipline And Making The Right Choices

If you haven’t seen on my Instagram yet, the latest news for our family is we are finally expecting a child after a very long journey. I plan on writing up a full post about the first trimester and sharing some thoughts about the whole experience, but for now this blog article is about an entirely different subject. Reward charts and discipline. 

My little boy is now six years old, and he is thriving and loving life. Just as he should be. However, these last few weeks and months I have begun to notice a shift in his behaviour. He was pushing buttons and testing boundaries, he was ignoring warnings and just doing what he wanted. I’d shout, I’d threaten punishment, but the truth is, this didn’t even phase him. Why? Because he knew I wouldn’t follow through. 

Changes needed to be made

A while ago we took Logan to the doctors because we found that he was developing certain tendencies and twitches in his behaviour at home. The doctors advised us that he had what she described as a “Type A Personality” and that he thrives off praise and being told he is doing well. It made sense once we thought about it as we knew he loved to hear he had done well and and continued to do something just to hear that praise. 

We realised that negative language didn’t work well with Logan, and that he was more in tune with positivity. So we changed the way we dealt with things, and for a while it worked. But the main issue specifically lay with me, I was too soft. 

I will admit that I am the type of mum that likes an easy life. It’s a busy day anyway, and if I can get things done quickly, avoid confrontation and arguments swiftly, then I will, just to get through the day. However, the problem with that was Logan realised that he could get me to do anything, and that really he was never told off for doing naughty things. 

Things need to improve

With a baby coming next year, I realised that things needed to change, and so I got thinking, chatting to friends and family, about ways that I can encourage better behaviour, a nicer environment at home and more independence from Logan. So I came up with a few methods and to be totally honest with you all, they are working. I thought I would share with you what I have been doing but do check out my Instagram page and also IGTV for a video discussing this in more detail.

REWARDS CHART

To be honest I have tried a reward charts in the past and they have given me varied results. They worked well, but not as well as I had hoped. I realised that I may have been over complicating them in the past, so I tried a more simple approach. At Logans school, they use a reward charts system and give out “dojo’s” for good work and behaviour, the difference is the teacher decides what is worthy of a Dojo. So I applied the same principal with gold stars at home.

There are many things he can get a gold star for. Eating his meals, getting dressed himself, good behaviour, kindness etc. At the end of the day myself and his Papa will chat with him and decide how many he has earned that day and what for. We may even highlight it at the time if we think something was worth a gold star. His aim is to get to twenty stars on his reward charts and he earns himself a prize. He’s loved this, and is already working out what he can do to earn more gold stars and his behaviour has improved. 

DISCIPLINE

There are a couple of things that I have changed when it comes to discipline. I usually would get to a stage where I would shout, which didn’t leave me feeling good or actually make any difference with his behaviour. Sometimes I would threaten things like taking an iPad away etc and then never following through with it. It was doing me no favours really. So having chatted to friends and family, I decided to try out one technique. 

If Logan is doing something wrong, I would give him a warning. If he continues then the punishment would be thirty minutes of no technology. The TV goes off, he can’t use any of his devices, nothing. He can play with his normal toys, he can do his homework, and read etc. But tech is a no go. This actually felt like it could be a punishment for me as well as Logan, as the TV is always on in our house. Guilty!

Surprising results 

However, it wasn’t so bad when I did actually have to follow through. He moaned a bit, but then he just got on with it. The thing is, since that one occasion I haven’t had to do it again. The warning seems to be enough at the minute. 

We will also take away gold stars from his chart if he misbehaves. So we do have the choice between the two options. I guess it depends on exactly what he is doing to govern the type of punishment or discipline he will get. 

In conclusion

Overall these things have helped our home life and routine, and also improved Logans behaviour. He will always be an energetic lad. The one thing I have realised is that all children are different, and that not every child is angelic and as well-behaved as I once thought. It’s good to talk. Because let’s face it, motherhood can be lonely at times. 

Let me know what systems work for you in your household. 

Attendance Awards In School: Is It Right?

My little boy has just finished Year One. We are all set and ready for a fantastic summer holidays and preparing as much as we can for Year Two. I am well aware that this next school year is going to be a tough one for Logan. With SATs and extra milestones he needs to reach I’m going to have to help him at home as well. Hopefully to ensure that he isn’t falling behind or losing the enthusiasm he has for school simply because he is struggling and not enjoying it. School have a lot to focus on. With targets and levels they need to meet I understand they are under pressure to get the results, and attendance is one of the areas that they need to get to a certain level.  Our school encourages classes to have at least 97% attendance each week. So I am guessing that this could be around the target in which they need to meet.

Praising attendance

Each week our school has an assembly, and every year is given their percentage for attendance, and the kids love it. They all want to reach that 100% goal and earn a badge for their year. This is great encouragement, and attendance in school is extremely important. But, there is one thing that seems to be a big trend amongst schools these days, and that is awarding children individually for 100% attendance.

I don’t agree with it. 

There will always be times in your child’s school life when they are unwell. They don’t ask for it, they certainly don’t enjoy being ill. In many cases, our school included, if a child is ill then you are encouraged to keep them off school. This avoids the illness spreading and causing further absences. There was a prime example earlier this year, our school was hit with the vomiting bug, bad! At least 40% of the school was effected and because of this we were advised to keep out children off school. Until a full 48 hours had passed since the last sickness. My son ended up with it, in fact we all did, and it was pretty horrific!

We didn’t manage it

My son didn’t get 100% attendance this year, he ended up on 97%. The percentage in which our school aims for. He wasn’t rewarded for that, I don’t expect him to be, but why should a child be rewarded for 100% just because in-theory they were lucky to not have to experience the illness?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think attendance in school is extremely important. But it is down to your own parental opinion. Some people are happy to take their child out of school and have unauthorised absences for one reason or another. This isn’t about judgement. It may even Be worth it to take my son out of school in the future. But I don’t think that awarding children for 100% attendance is the right way to go? At this rate, children who become aware of the award system will push themselves to go into school when they aren’t well, and they may even get worked up and upset because they have had to have a day off. Is that really fair on them and their mental wellbeing?

In conclusion

Award systems work well in most scenarios, and even with attendance I think it can be a good motivator, but I don’t think 100% should be the target, it should be awarded for the school reaching their target.

What do you think about attendance awards in school? Do you think they work? I would love to know your thoughts.

Trying To Conceive – Our Journey So Far

Having a baby was something I just expected to happen. After all, I already had a baby, and that was a complete surprise. Logan came along in a whirlwind. Myself and my now husband hadn’t been together too long, and to say we weren’t exactly prepared would be an understatement. Of course, we were extremely excited, and I would say having Logan has certainly been a highlight in our lives. But, the one thing I never thought would happen would be the difficulty of trying to conceive once more. Surely if it happened the first time, it would happen again easily enough, right? Wrong!

When Logan turned two, we thought it would be a great idea to have another baby. We have Luca as well, but as he isn’t with us 100% of the time, we thought it would be nice to add another sibling into the mix. We tried, and for a few months, nothing happened. I know that these things can go like this, so when September 2015 rolled around and we finally got that very much wanted positive pregnancy test we were elated. It was finally happening for us. However, it doesn’t always go to plan does it? I started to experience pain, and bleeding, and to cut a long story short, one I plan on blogging about but have talked about on Instagram, I was having an ectopic pregnancy. Baby loss was something I knew very little about. I was aware of it, I knew it could happen, but thats as much thought as I had given it in the past. This pregnancy was something I did not expect to end in the way that it did.

It took a while to get over it, and it never actually leaves you, but we knew we wanted to try again, and that we did. However, it took 18 long months later to finally get a positive pregnancy test once more, a month after our wedding day, perfect time you would think. May 2017 and again the excitement took hold quickly. I was cautious, but I just thought that this was finally our time. But only a few short weeks later, the pain returned and so did the bleeding, and after regular trips to the hospital, a promise of an intermittent heartbeat being detected it turned out that out little one hadn’t made it. I could have waited for it to happen naturally. But I went numb and just wanted the whole thing to be over as soon as possible, so I opted to have the surgery to end the pregnancy.

I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. Like the last time, I distracted myself with life and got on with things, and surprisingly only a few short months later in September 2017 I was pregnant once again. This was going to be it. I was sure of it. But this time the doubt and the fear was overwhelming. Every little niggle I was scared. Everytime I went to the bathroom I was scared. A few weeks later, it was the weekend, and the start of Logans first half term. I started to feel period style pains and cramps and bleeding heavily. I was miscarrying again, only this time it was happening all on its own. I remember the day vividly. I remember it happening. It is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. From October 2017 to today now January 2019, we have continued to try, albeit not in a strict kind of way. We want nature to takes it course but sadly it hasn’t happened for us. We are under the care of the hospital. We have had scans and an MRI to see if there is any reason why this keeps happening, and we now have some difinitive answers which will be coming up in a future blog post. I wanted to start tracking our trying to conceive journey. I want to try new methods and things to see if it helps increase our chances. I also want to be able to share with you all the highs and the lows, baby loss, what it means and the general mental impact this can have on you. We are still positive that we will be able to conceive again, and this is going to workout for us. But we also realise how very blessed we are with two healthy boys.

Do you have any trying to conceive tips you would like to share? Leave a comment below with your advice.

The Park Saves Lives – Weekend Diaries – 17-18th November 2018

Weekends come and go in the blink of an eye, don’t they? One minute it’s Friday night. You are enjoying your glass of prosecco and see this big long weekend stretched infant of you. The next minute you are crying into your sauvignon blanc on a Sunday night, ironing shorts and wondering what the hell happened. I wanted to start documenting out weekends as much as I could. We have fast approached the end of the year, Christmas is nearly here, and when it comes to documenting memories, I just haven’t been that great at it. I sometimes even forget to pull my phone out and take a snap. Something I know I will regret it come the future when pictures and video clips will be what I have to look back on.

This weekend wasn’t special; in fact, it is just a normal one for us. It begins with Soccer AM on a Saturday morning, and breakfast being made while drinking hot cups of tea and coffee. Today, we decided to head to the park for some fresh air, and I will be honest with you, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been feeling a little bit of cabin fever, and I know that moods were beginning to turn, mine especially, and so heading to the park was really going to save lives. Ok, enough with the dramatics!

Sometimes it is the simple things that can change your mood, and instantly put a smile your face, and the park did that for us today. I felt fresh; I felt happy and content. I am so glad I managed to capture a few images while we were there.

Saturday evening was a relaxed affair and the same can be said for Sunday. Traditionally Sunday is a day that I catch up with washing, and we do homework. Watching films, cooking up a big Sunday dinner and just soaking in the last few moments of family time before the week kicks off in full force the following morning. This weekend wasn’t special, we didn’t go anywhere particularly amazing, and we didn’t have any elaborate days or evenings out. But it has been one of my favourites, and I think that is simply because time with the family is often the best tonic to help you feel happy and content.

I also managed to put together a little video. I hope you enjoy it. If you did we would love it if you subscribed to our channel.