Category Archives: Drinking

The ever-so-elusive baby shower

And I’m out of hospital just in time for my baby shower! The following weekend, when I’m 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant, is the long held date for the event we really weren’t sure we’d ever come to see.   I’m shocked that I’m actually pregnant and am having a baby shower of my own after heart-breakingly attending so many others over the years, and I’m doubly shocked that I’ve managed to stay out of hospital and stay pregnant with the boys long enough to make it to the big day.

Two of my dearest friends have organised the event and I know nothing except that I’m to turn up at a lovely restaurant on the waterfront at 3pm for high tea. Turns out I’m one of the first to arrive (so unlike me!) and it looks amazing! We have a semi-private room in an enclosed balcony; a long table in the sunshine with a view out over the harbour. The table is decorated with ribbons, little blue prams, blue baby shower ornaments, and two giant bottles – one filled with jube lollies for my husband and one filled with Pineapple Lumps for me (and if you don’t know what Pineapple Lumps are you need to find out and get some in your life!)

There’s already a pile of presents in the corner and this grows and grows (both with baby shower presents and with hand-me-downs) as the guests trickle in. It’s a really nice group of people – much of my family, and some of my oldest friends. We order tea and are bought out tiered trays of delectable food. It’s totally surreal and I find myself in a bit of a daze for the first 45 minutes or so as I just can’t believe this is ours – a party to celebrate the gorgeous boys that are finally in my tummy.

Of course, being a baby shower, there must be games. Firstly a sock game where you need to pair and fold as many baby socks as you can within the 20 second time frame. While this is occurring there are two ‘twin’ quizzes – match each celebrity with the names of their twins, and tick who of another list of celebrities is a twin and who isn’t. We’re in teams of two and the quizzes are hard! I’m not much one for gossipy magazines or anything so I have next to no clue. My brother-in-law and I take a guess at most of them and I’m pleased to say we take out the prize. I also take out the sock game with 10 socks paired and folded…yep, I’m totally ready for kids, hahaha!

The next few hours are spent eating, drinking (many with champagne but not me), and chatting. The food is fantastic and the company even better. I’m told I have to open the presents there and then which makes me a little nervous as I hate being the centre of attention. We’ve been utterly and ridiculously spoiled by our amazing friends and family, and I feel so grateful to have them all in our lives. I surprise myself by not crying, despite coming close a couple of times, but truth be told I do only skim over the cards as I know they’ll set me off. I settle down later at home where I can remove my makeup, and am free to bawl, to reread them properly.

Around 6pm people start to leave, kids to get home to etc. My husband and his Dad come into the restaurant to join us for a drink then we head home too. It’s been an absolutely amazing (and surreal) day and I just can’t put into words how much it has truly meant to me. CI and CB, thank you so much for organising it. And to all our friends and family who could make it, thank you so much! You all mean the world to us and I wish I could properly express how lucky we are that you are part of our lives. We love you all dearly.


B. F. Oh?

For the last day or so I’ve felt neither here nor there. Kind of a zen-like calm of not-knowing. There’s nothing I can do, either this works or it doesn’t. I feel like I’m ready for either outcome. That doesn’t stop the nervousness of waiting for the call though. After an early start to get to my blood test by 7:30am the hours before the results come through are fraught with willing my phone to ring.

My husband and I have both taken the day off work to try and reduce the stress so, post-blood draw, head out to a delicious breakfast (white truffle scrambled eggs on brioche with smoked salmon and avocado puree for me, mmmmm). Then it’s off for a quick acupuncture session before heading home to twiddle our thumbs. After an hour or so I can’t handle it anymore, I need to do something. I’m either sick of putting our life on hold for this or just to antsy to sit still, maybe a bit of both.

We truck off to the plant store to buy some new plants for our vegie garden, it is spring after all, the season of new life; and cruise to my Mum’s house to farewell my sister who, very luckily, is heading off on a school trip to Europe for two weeks (never did that in my day! Haha). That’s when the call comes. Eek.

It’s all very jovial at first, yes, I’m sounding much better than I did the other day (when I could hardly talk and the nurse could hardly understand me); yes, now’s a good time for the results aaaannnnnnddd……..they’re negative. No baby Bumble for us this time around. Again. Our one little fighter wasn’t much of a fighter after all, or perhaps just wasn’t ENOUGH of a fighter, it was dealing with my body after all – the almighty egg/embryo killer.

The scary thing about this is, I feel fine. I don’t feel much different to how I felt yesterday, or three months ago. I guess I must be getting used to this or something, this endless disappointment, or maybe it’s just that I’m a reflector and it will all hit me later when I least expect it. My hubby doesn’t fare quite so well, this hits him, hard. Much worse than any of our other cycles, he’s down and I feel bad that there’s absolutely nothing I can do to make him feel better. Talk about the ultimate role reversal, we’ve both done a complete 180 on how we normally react to these things.

So now to break the news to our donor. Standing in Mum’s garage, where we’ve gone to hide to take the call, I send her a text, hardly knowing what to say. Then we’re off inside to tell my family, and send out the texts to let other people know. It’s a weird feeling but it’s nice not to be in limbo any more. We have a result and we need to focus on the next steps. Mum and I pour a glass of wine and I’m tiddly after just a few sips, talk about a cheap drunk!

So what so we do from here. Well, we farewell my sister, and go home to rip weeds from the garden of course. Nothing like killing a few obnoxious plants (or more than a few in our poor neglected garden’s case) to feel better. It’s extremely therapeutic.   And the future? Well, we’ll just have to see. We’ve toyed with the idea of heading to the States for treatment but haven’t ruled out another NZ donor egg cycle either. I’m just not planning on sitting around waiting anymore. It’s time to really take charge of this shit and bring Bumble home.


The next instalment

So my Friday blood test has come back perfect and we’re awaiting our donor’s day one. Sunday night we receive a text “Day 1 tomorrow!!” That soon?!? I knew it was approaching that week but could it really happen quite so rapidly? Why yes, it seems it can! Day one is indeed the Monday and the clinic call me at work to tell me to start on Progynova, my estradiol valerate tablets, to encourage my uterine lining to grow. I’m buzzing. I hang up the call to the clinic and am incredibly nervous, nauseous, and excited all at once. I can’t believe this is finally happening. I’m shaking, clammy, and suddenly can’t concentrate on my job. This is it.

I’m actually more anxious than I thought I’d be and it takes me a while to calm down and relax. I should be happy and excited at the prospect of things falling into place, and I am, but after a few weeks of largely feeling positive about this I’m suddenly incredibly worried. Worried that this might not work, that my friend might react badly to the drugs or be uncomfortable, worried that I might be putting her through needless pain/discomfort/hassle for nothing, worried that my body may let us down once again. And after so many disappointments, one IVF cycle that ended in a marginal embryo and one where we didn’t even make it to transfer, it’s hard to believe that an IVF could actually go right, despite changing the one variable that’s previously held us up. I actually can’t imagine that we could end up with healthy mature eggs, that those eggs could fertilise normally into healthy embryos, and that those embryos could develop to a point that they’re worth transferring. I just can’t fathom it.

So my donor starts her stimulation injections and I start on my estradiol. That’s the physical stuff sorted, now to get my mind in shape. I’m a reasonably strong believer in the power of the mind. For years I’ve said “I don’t do sick” at even the slightest hint of illness and on the whole I’m healthy – it’s pretty rare that I even get a cold. So, despite my go-to negative view on fertility I’m determined to think positively about this, and use my mind to will my body to function. I invested in the Circle and Bloom audio relaxation sessions specifically designed for donor egg IVF long before our cycle started and, while being pretty slack at listening to the suppression sessions (I listened to them four times out of the fourteen days I was supposed to), I’ve really made an effort to listen to the estrogen sessions so far. I certainly still flip-flop between nervous anxiety and feeling positive but I can definitely say the sessions have helped. I totally recommend them for anyone else going through this.

As well as getting my mind in order I’ve also been trying to make sure my body is in the best possible shape to receive this embryo we desperately hope to have. Many of you know that I’ve been off the booze and coffee for a while now, but over the last few weeks I’ve been making an effort in other areas too. I’ve been doing a weekly yoga session for a few months and have made sure not to miss a class unless absolutely necessary. I’ve also added regular walking into my routine and have started back at the gym doing cardio and weights multiple times a week (three times a week if my schedule allows but with exercise on acupuncture days a bit of a no-no, this is sometimes difficult given I do acupuncture three times a week!). I’ve been listening to my body too and if it feels too exhausted to work out I don’t push it, luckily that hasn’t happened often.

I’ve also started watching what I’m eating more and have increased my fruit and vegetable intake. We bought a slow-juicer recently and a nice glass of fruit and veggie juice in the mornings has been helping with this. I’ve cut out nearly all junk food – not that I was having a lot before anyway – and have been trying to ensure I eat a wide range of healthy food options. I’ve not only been feeling better but I also know I’m giving it my all for Bumble, no regrets. And hey, if this cycle doesn’t work, there’s the added bonus of having a mint bikini body for summer!

And that’s where I’m at. A ball of nervous yet excited energy, attempting to think positively, and giving it my all for Bumble. Our first scans (for both our donor and I) are tomorrow so we’ll see just how well my lining is coming along and how many follicles our donor is nurturing. Fingers crossed it’s good news for all of us.


Is the third time a charm?

Wow, we’ve started IVF #3. It’s hard to believe after 9 months of prep and planning it’s finally here! It’s hard to believe that it could actually work, but it’s possible, presumably even more possible than the last two because this time we’re using someone else’s eggs, this could give us the Bumble we’ve been waiting for. Our beautiful donor has come through the barrage of tests with flying colours, except for perhaps a slightly low hormone test, but certainly nothing to be concerned about, and after too many months sitting on red, the light is suddenly green.

It’s very strange playing no part in this process until near the end. It’s bizarre to think that right now the precursor to our little Bumble could be growing away in someone else’s tummy. Crazy to be going through an IVF cycle without the daily injections and follicle scans but I’m jumping the gun, we’re not even at that stage yet. And I’m not entirely off the hook. Here’s how things have gone down so far.

Just over a month ago we got the call to say our next cycle was going ahead in September, WOOHOO! I get to start my down-reg drugs mid-August and my donor starts her stims in September in line with her cycle. A quick yet disorganised trip to the clinic for injection instructions, a stop at the chemist for drugs, and I’m good to go. Only one injection to start with for me as, unlike my last cycle where I was doing daily Lucrin injections to shut down my natural cycle, this injection lasts a whole month. I’m prepared for the worst as this is the drug I reacted badly to last time – lucky-dip Lucrin I called it, with a new side-effect every day – and now I’m taking a whole month’s worth in one hit, eek.

What’s worse I realise on the way home, is that the date I’m to start the injection is the one weekend this winter that we’re away…..and not just away the two of us hiding out, but away snowboarding with a whole heap of work colleagues (my husband and I work in the same place) who don’t know about our infertility struggles. As I’ve said before I’m all for letting people know about what we’re going through but my hubs was, until recently, on a different wave-length. By the time he’d got his head around telling his team at work, it seemed a bit awkward to bring up; I mean it’s not exactly your run-of-the-mill morning coffee conversation, “Morning guys! Hey guess what, you know how my wife has been a withdrawn yet emotionally crazy person for most of the time you’ve known her, well it turns out we’ve been battling infertility for the last three and half years. Can you pass the sugar?”

So I spent a good couple of weeks stressing about the various scenarios that could arise. What if I accidentally let something slip and there’s the whole depressing explanation of our infertile lives while everyone is supposed to be chilling and having a good time? What if someone walks in on me doing my injection? What if the side effects hit hard and I flip out for no apparent reason? What if I end up with vertigo again and can’t partake in the weekend activities? Now I know this may seem silly but bear in mind these guys are kinda the cool kids (if there is still such a thing at this age) – they’re really lovely, fun, friendly, gorgeous people but let’s just say I feel like the hick hillbilly cousin next to them. I’m shy and quiet, am hopeless with make-up or anything girly, and at the moment don’t drink. Add to that the nervousness of IVF and I feel even more dull than normal.

Eventually I decide whatever will be will be and I just need to have a good time regardless. Turns out I worried needlessly. It was an absolutely awesome weekend. I got to know the group a little better and had a great time without too much (other than a little on the first day) fretting about my injection or feeling sad about our situation. And it transpired that some of them knew anyway. Apparently my silly husband had spilled the beans….he just didn’t remember who he’d told! It’s so much easier not having to pretend any more. It’s exhausting trying to make out that everything’s fine when you just want to curl up and cry. Oh, yeah, and side-effects? None. At all. Even two and a half weeks on. Pfft.

Anyway, I’ve digressed. After two weeks of no side-effects, of being ‘normal’ and sane, it’s time for my blood test to check that this stuff is actually working, because you know, the way things happen in our life, no side-effects probably means not working. Again, why was I worrying?! Despite now looking like a complete junkie due to the nurse not being able to find my vein, everything is progressing as it’s supposed to and we await our donor’s day one. That’s when all the real excitement begins.


Dancing in the rain

I’m so sick of infertility ruling my life.  This year I choose to take it back.  I’ve spent so much time away from my friends, so much time avoiding social situations, so much time with my own thoughts, it’s time for a change. I choose life.  So how to fight back?  It’s a challenge to reclaim your life, especially when the nightmare of infertility is still hanging over your head.  I found a quote last year and have decided this year to make it the motto I live by. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  I’ve spent so long waiting for the storm to pass, and all likelihood it never will, it’s time to learn to dance in the rain.

I think the first step is to change my thought process, to force myself to be happy.  I’m trying extremely hard to reframe negative aspects of my life, to remind myself of the good bits, and not focus on my infertility. To be honest, I think knowing that my eggs are crap is helping with this.  I know 99.9% that I won’t be able to have a baby ‘normally’, one that’s genetically mine, so I don’t bother concentrating on it.  Admittedly (and expectedly) I still think about it and still have my bad days, but knowing there’s now nothing I can do to change the situation – no amount of healthy eating, lack of coffee or alcohol, no amount of supplements – I’m finding I’m more relaxed about it.  Knowing that both donor egg IVF and adoption are long processes, and there’s little I can do to speed it up, is lifting the pressure of trying to conceive.  If and when it happens is when it will happen, I can only do my bit and hope for the best.

I’ve also started the 100 Happy Days project, taking a photo of something that makes me happy for 100 days straight.  Apparently 71% of people never finish the challenge, but I will.  I’m only 9 days in and already it’s made an impact on my mood and how I deal with the world.  It’s a great way of focusing on the joyful moments of your life and I’ve found that, no matter what kind of mood I’m in, I’ve been able to find at least one thing to take a photo of.  Initially I put a bit of pressure on myself to take photos of big things, aspects of my life that are major impacts on my happiness, but then I realised that was silly, something as small as a cup of coffee can make me happy so why shouldn’t I include those moments.  In actual fact, recognising those little things has had a massive impact on realising my happiness, possibly more so than the obvious ones.

I’m making an effort to reconnect with people.  I’m still not up to facing big crowds, (or even small crowds for that matter) and I’m not sure I ever will be, but I’m making an attempt to reconnect with people who really matter to me.   I will Skype my mate in New York, I will arrange a dinner with the ‘marrieds’, I will catch up for a glass of wine (now that I can drink guilt-free again) with my friends.  I’m taking back my life and I’m loving it!  I’m by no means back to where I was before infertility took over my life and I doubt I will ever be that again.  We can never go back, only forward, and a new me is forming from the ashes that once was my life.

I’ve created a little sign, nothing flash, just a handwritten sign on yellow paper, and I’ve attached it to my computer screen at work so that it stares me straight in the face.  Whenever I’m wavering, whenever I get a little down and take a step backward, I look at this sign and it reminds me that whatever is getting me down is just a small part of my world, it reminds me to make the most of every moment and to reclaim my life.  It reminds me to be happy.  What does it say you ask?  It says this: “This year I will learn to dance in the rain” and this year I will dance no matter what the world throws at me, I will dance to survive and to thrive.


The beginning of the end?

So I’ve had yet another meltdown.  To be fair this is only the second one since our IVF round two fail and the second since we learned my eggs are fucked so I think I’m doing pretty well.  I don’t melt down terribly often and so far my husband has always been there by my side.  The further we progress in this journey though the more I worry whether our marriage can handle the turmoil created by this battle.  I used to think we could get through anything, we’ve been together 15 & a half years and while we’ve been through a lot, we’ve always managed to work our way past whatever issue was plaguing us and stand united as a team.   However I am beginning to wonder if this infertility might be just a little too big for us.  Deep down I know we can survive it but that doesn’t stop me worrying about what could happen in the meantime and what we’ll have to endure to get there.  I’d love to know what my husband thinks and feels about all of this but he’s a man, he doesn’t talk about it.  Does he even think about it?

The latest meltdown had the unfortunate timing of occurring at our friends wedding.  We’d gotten up early (bear in mind I am not a morning person at all!) and driven the 3 & a half hours home from our holiday.  A quick shower and change then another hours drive out to the wedding location. Friends had rented a house and we were to stay for the weekend.  I was a little apprehensive about it as I knew one of these friends to be pregnant and was nervous about how I would cope with that so soon after such a devastating cycle fail.  Soldier on I tell myself, you can do it.  We pull up to the house and it turns out both of the women we are staying with have pronounced baby bumps, gee, thanks for the warning.  It hits hard.   Both these women are older than me and have had no trouble at all in conceiving.  I shed a few tears outside then off we head to the ceremony.  From there it never stops.  99% of all the child-bearing-aged women there are either pregnant or are sporting young children.  The cries and gurgles of infants ring through the surroundings as the afternoon progresses.  There are endless remarks from the preggos lamenting the fact that they can’t drink, “not being able to drink really sucks.”  I’m tempted to reply with “yes, and hearing pregnant people complain about being pregnant feels like a stab in the guts but at least you’ll be able to have a drink in a few months time so I guess one of us won’t be suffering forever”, but I hold my tongue.

The ceremony is lovely and I’m genuinely happy for the married couple, even though the entire time my head is telling me they’ll be next on the baby-train. I attempt to cheer up and chat, then the baby talk starts.  Not being able to stand it I wander off to the other end of the party with my husband but alas we can’t get away from it.  You’d think I would have realised that impossibility with the 99% right?!?  The sounds and words build and build, surround me.  It’s like in the movies where someone’s going crazy and all those voices and faces swirl around their head until it all gets too much, only it’s not imaginary voices and faces swirling around my head but the very real sounds of babies and pregnancy talk.  I break.  Tears stream down my face and I can’t stop them, I struggle to breathe, it’s just all too much.  I need to get out of there and eventually it’s decided I should go home.  I know it’s bad form to leave but I can’t help it, I’m a mess.  Cue the awkward moment with M. as he tries to play the nice guy while all the while hinting that he should stay behind.  “You should go home.  I can drive you home.  Or you can drive home and I can stay here”.  I know he desperately wants to stay (ever the FOMO sufferer) but I so desperately need him.  I can’t force him to come with me, I need him to make that decision himself, to decide I’m more important.  But as expected I’m heading off alone yet again.  I wander back along the beach to the house and spend an hour on the lawn in hysterical sobs before finally pulling myself together enough to get in the car.  I still cry all the way home.

I pull in the drive and no one’s here.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  I don’t want have to explain myself to my sister, who’s housesitting for us, but at the same time I need someone here, I need a hug.  I’ve never felt so alone.  Why does the party always have to come first?  I realise my grief appeared at a completely inappropriate time but does that mean it’s better to ignore it and party on?  I often feel like the emotional side of this struggle is all a little too much for my husband.  That he doesn’t know how to deal with the mass of sadness that overflows from me at times.  That he doesn’t understand how this journey has changed me.  From my perspective I don’t understand how he can go on as normal.  I know this hurts him too, how does he pretend it doesn’t, and I envy him of this skill to hide his emotion and be ‘part of the crowd’.  I worry that this is what will destroy us.  My inability to deal with this curse, and his inability to acknowledge it.  I can see now how the fight for a child can annihilate a marriage.  I can only hope we’re stronger than that.


“Phew for a minute there, I lost myself”

Happy New Year everyone!  Fingers crossed 2013 is our year and this blog becomes a story of pregnancy and parenthood rather than a struggle through infertility.  For a couple of reasons I’ve just had my first completely sober New Year’s party since I was a teenager.  Firstly, good old Aunt Flo hadn’t made an appearance yet so there was a chance I was pregnant, and secondly it’s advised you don’t consume alcohol or caffeine within a week of starting Clomid treatment, which I’d planned on starting early January should Aunt Flo decide to arrive.  I have to say I had a really good night.  Surrounded by some of my best friends at a fantastic beachside location, great music and loads of dancing to keep me awake.  I was one of the last to bed at 4:30 in the morning.  Not a bad effort I have to say.  The only downside of the night was that Aunt Flo got excited by all the commotion and decided to join the party just after midnight.  A most unwelcome guest unfortunately but what can you do.  I shed a couple of tears then (wo)manned up and enjoyed the rest of my night.

It’s been really nice having a holiday knowing there’s nothing at all I can do at this stage of my cycle to influence the outcome.  I haven’t been able forget about everything, I’m a real thinker so it’s impossible to turn that off entirely, but I’ve managed to give myself some kind of break over the last two weeks which has been good.  I just hope like hell that we have some luck this year because the thought of sitting here this time next year in the same position as we are now is soul destroying.  After a summer holiday and working through all the stuff we’ve been through over the last (nearly) two years I’m beginning to feel stronger, almost like we can battle through whatever we have to to reach Bumble.  There are still a couple of things that threaten to dent the armour though.  One of them is the idea of sitting here Bumbleless in a year’s time.  The other is a thought that only really snuck into my consciousness this week, although it has been hovering somewhere around the edge of awareness for a while now.

That thought is this.  Some friends are getting married in a couple of weeks’ time and all year I’ve had it in my head that I’d be pregnant for their wedding.  With the arrival of Aunt Flo on New Year’s that’s obviously not going to be the case but I’ve also come to the realisation that they could potentially become pregnant before we do.  I can’t quite put my finger on why this upsets me so much.  It’s not the fact that they’d be having a baby, of course I’d be thrilled for them, and they’re going to make great parents when it does happen for them.  Analysing it more, it seems to be loneliness behind the over-emotion associated with the thought of their potential pregnancy.  The idea of yet again being left behind while everyone else moves on with the next stage of their lives.  Despite being surrounded by supportive people infertility is an extremely lonely process and it’s pretty hard to stay positive sometimes.

I can never completely shake the idea that Bumble may never happen for us, then worry that my negative thoughts are impacting on getting us there.  It would be lovely to be able to escape for a while.  This holiday has got me part of the way there but to go back to a life where I’m not consumed with trying to conceive, even just for five minutes, would be fantastic.  The constant up and down of hope, then worry and despair, does take its toll after a while and it wears you down.  It’s like spending a day on a boat in rough seas then trying to walk on dry land, or spinning round and round in a circle then trying to walk in a straight line.  Things that would normally be simple just seem that much harder and out of your control.  My friend used to drink to deal with the pain of infertility, a way to drown the sorrows and block the pain.  At times I wish I could deal that way…perhaps it’s not so good for the TTC body but to be able to mask the pain for a while would be bliss….unfortunately that way’s just not for me.  I guess I need to find my own way to deal with this process as obviously I can’t be going off on holiday every month.  Maybe this blog is it for me, it certainly makes me feel better getting it all off my chest every so often, or maybe I’ll find something else…..OR maybe, just maybe, this Clomid treatment will work for us and I won’t need a way to deal with infertility at all.  Fingers crossed for the latter option.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.  Hope you all had a great New Years and here’s to a bright and cheerful 2013!


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