December 30, 2013

Results of our FET #1

And the answer? Negative. Not pregnant.

I was upset at first (and heck, I still am) because I feel as though my body let me down. But then again, there's all the other stuff going on genetically with this embryo that embryologists can't pick up from their look at it prior to transfer into my uterus. Perhaps it didn't thaw right? Perhaps it wasn't genetically viable? (missing chromosomes, etc) Perhaps the conditions in my body weren't quite right at the time. Perhaps there was no reason except for it is what it is.

Christmas had a little sting to it because if we'd have been successful with our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer), we'd have had a confirmation ultrasound in the week leading up to it. Instead I found out another friend had a successful IVF cycle and was too busy being happy for her, ultimately. And I got to indulge a little with food and drink, which I wouldn't have been able to do as much had we been pregnant.

After a break during December, we're back to doing another FET in mid-January and I'm currently utilising naturopathic support (which I was doing prior to Rowan's conception in 2010). Hopefully 2014 brings us a successful pregnancy. :)

November 23, 2013

Embryo on Board

So this happened today....

Today was the day we used one of our four frozen embryos, created during the same IVF cycle from 2010 that Rowan was conceived within. Luckily for us, the first attempted thawing worked and we still have three in storage (1 x B-grade and 2 x C-grade; Rowan's embryo was an A-grade). The photo of the embryo in the bottom right was the one transferred, it looks lumpy and doesn't fill the whole cavity (despite being an expanded blastocyst) because it was still rehydrating at this point. The embryologist assured us that it was already looking good and doing everything that it should.

It's been a long month in terms of additional testing and appointments, trying to get everything lined up in order for the FET (frozen embryo transfer) to take place. And now I wait... wait until December 4th for a blood test to find out whether or not we'll get an early Christmas present. ;)

October 21, 2013

Let's do This!

Appointment with the IVF specialist who did the egg retrieval in the (stim) cycle that led to the conception and pregnancy of Rowan on November 1st.

Coincidentally also our 5th wedding anniversary... let's do this!

September 30, 2013

My Brain Has Turned into a Mush of Peppa Pig

I’ve been in Hobart, Tasmania for the past few days (and got home on Saturday) and though it was fun and
had moments of relaxation, it was hard work too. Travelling with a toddler isn’t relaxing in the slightest and while we’ve persevered twice this year (Sydney in March and then Hobart), it isn’t something I’m keen to do again in a hurry.

I’ve also looked back at my patterns of my blogging/writing this year and realise that as my down-time (as a parent) has diminished, so has my writing. Completely understandable – I get it now – being so exhausted by the end of the day can make the outpouring of words seem like a chore. During the moments of calm and relaxation, I find that my words all seem to go ioedbnoeboetisnmorkaesmontlwhmoup56m together (not a slight exaggeration) and any eloquence I once possessed has vanished, to be replaced by the rhetoric of entire episodes of Peppa Pig. For my own mental health I need to get back into this.

And when it does come time to write... what do I say? When I feel a little unsure about things, I prefer to keep it trapped in my mind rather than blurting it out to an audience (even myself), because that makes it just seem more real. As for now? A lot of negativity in my mind, mainly linked to insecurities about parenting and control issues/power struggles. Rowan dropped his day sleep around the same time that he weaned from breastfeeding, then has been ill for the past two weeks (finally coming good at the moment). I’ve felt him easing back in his affection towards me at times (or at least that’s how I feel) and it’s all about Daddy of late. There are continual tantrums, many of which are linked to overtiredness and the refusal of a nap, and then I feel myself losing control of my level-headedness and just want a few minutes to myself without the tears, screams, pushes or the dreaded ‘limp noodle’ position. So I feel a bit inferior as a parent at the moment, which has spilt over into my teaching days and I find myself second-guessing what I do both at work and home, losing confidence in both areas. As a professional I feel underappreciated (and have for most of this year, but have already written about this before), and yearn for a sea change, but know that it isn’t to happen until the end of next year (I want the redundancy and parental leave payments, both highly lucrative and enough to encourage me to keep going). Part of me wants to be pregnant as soon as possible to have an easier pathway out of teaching, the other part of me knows how much I’m struggling to be the parent I want to be right now and that pregnancy might compound things. And then there’s infertility, IVF and that opens another can of worms completely.... ugh! When did life as an adult become so complicated?

But that’s not to say that life doesn’t have its moments of joy. Laughter, cuddles, food, sunshine, photography... all good things (but overshadowed by the trappings of my mind at times). I want to share some photos about the positive things, as I don’t want to forget them...

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This is me... a hair update (I'm in a red phase at the moment)

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Trucks and sand on our balcony.

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Playing with my dragon hat before a work dress-up day (and Rowan's artwork on the fridge)

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Scenes from my hubby's parents' house in Hobart, Tasmania.

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My attempt at a strawberry cream sponge. Tasted brilliant if I say so myself. ;)

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Matt and I (before the hair transformation)

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Rowan and Matt at The Aproneers, a great organic and sustainably-focused store and cafe in Hobart.

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Jumpers that are way too big are fun. ;)

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And crazy bed hair is pretty fun too!

September 13, 2013

On Weaning

Breastfeeding didn’t initially come easy to Rowan and I. There were early latch issues (lasting three months), open wounds, engorgement... all of that lovely stuff. But it did get easier, and I surprised myself for getting to three months... then six... then twelve months and beyond. I then hoped to get to two years of breastfeeding but didn’t want to stress myself out in case it didn’t happen. Breastfeeding in the second and third year turned out to be easier than the first, if you don’t mind a bit of gymNURSEtics! As Rowan got older, we were able to better establish rules with him about when and how he breastfed, and that certain behaviours (such as rolling around whilst feeding... ouch) weren’t on. It also lent itself to wonderful moments of cuddles, contented sighs, before-bed conversations about our day and hearing what Rowan had to say about it all.

He would tell me about how my milk tasted (“warm and sweet” was his favourite, “delicious” was another common phrase used), and displeasure if I’d eaten something that affected the taste – asparagus, without fail! And the numerous occasions where I’d stroke Rowan’s forehead and brush his hair from his face while singing our “Close Your Eyes” lullaby, one I made up when he was a very small baby to the tune of a musical mobile he has. Rowan would inevitably succumb to the lure of the head rub, especially if he’d been too busy to nap that day.

Breastfeeding at 10 months old.

20 months old.

Our breastfeeding days have now come to an end, which is a bittersweet feeling. A week ago (on the day Rowan turned 2 years and 5 months) had his last feed, after weeks of discussion about the milk “going on holiday” when I went away for a weekend trip. In the days that followed the trip, I had to work hard to stay strong at times, and to not offer Rowan a feed before bedtime or when he snuggled me on the couch. It had become such an ingrained part of our lives together that changing the routine had been tough (and I suspect, tougher on me). Hormones crashed and I had a headache which lasted several days. Engorgement left me a little sore and I felt genuinely miserable about my decision to wean Rowan – even though I knew that it was time, given the behaviours he had been developing and his lackadaisical approach to breastfeeding. Perhaps towards the end I was prolonging the breastfeeding relationship as much for me as I was for him?

But five days into weaning, everything changed. The headache disappeared, breast tenderness subsided and I woke up in the morning feeling much less ‘full’ than before. As someone who had to work hard initially to build up a good milk supply, the swiftness of it depleting was a little frightening, to be honest. There was no going back now, just spending a lot of time with Rowan and assuring him that cuddles are still okay and that despite being a “big boy” now, he’ll still always be my baby.

We talk about the milk going away until there is another baby growing in my tummy, and Rowan talks about “a little girl baby” (always a girl, never a boy). Though yet unspoken, there is the promise of reliving this all over again after my body gets a bit of a break to re-energize, to recharge and renew. I’m ready, just not quite yet... ready to savour time with my rapidly growing toddler who talks a mile a minute, reasons and negotiates, and shows empathy towards others. This (the weaning journey) is another step forward together in our journey as mother and son.

The last picture I have of Rowan feeding (to sleep in this case).
He is 2 years and 4.5 months here.

July 29, 2013

Our 2012 Family Album

Our family's 2012 photo album/scrapbook arrived in the mail today (cue fangirl excitement about seeing my scrapbooking layouts in print!)


Yep, 96 pages of scrapbooking layouts from our family's adventures during 2012.  I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially as I tried a couple of different things with this book.

I used the inside front cover pages to introduce the book. An inner title page, short bio on us as a family and our ages (something fun to look back on in years to come) and a summary of major events that happened to us during 2012. I printed on slightly thicker pages (and glossy) as I like the feel of both when looking at the book in person. It gives it a real 'coffee table' feel. :)

I didn't do a huge amount of double-page layouts for this album, but those I did complete look really nice (especially Rowan's party layout, which seemed a bit 'busy' when I finished it after his 1st birthday last year). Printed at 12x12", even the little details look fabulous and the font size is perfect. In fact, on layouts such as the Aqaurium one above, the font looks almost a bit TOO large when printed. This is something I'll make a note of for printing this year's book.

I like the way single layouts look too. Notice the white edging around each page? This was deliberate, as when I printed my pregnancy album, I had a bit cut off on each edge when it was printed, due to the guttering. The easy way around this was to make a template using the Blurb software that had the image slightly smaller than the page itself and applying it to each page before dragging and dropping each layout in.

The colours came up crisp and clear, and it inspires me to get even more of our pictures and stories off the computer. Growing up, I loved looking through our family albums, and I want to be able to do the same for our family too. 

The details: I design my layouts in Photoshop CS3, using a variety of digital scrapbooking kits and temples (I get most of mine here). I printed this book at in 12x12" (30x30cm) and used Premium Glossy paper. There were 96 pages and this book cost me $109 after applying a 20% off coupon. You can see the full book here.This entry isn't an advertisement, just wanted to answer the FAQ that I often get about my scrapbooking layouts and photobooks.

I have been a digital scrapbooker since 2009, but didn't get more heavily into projects until 2010 when pregnant with Rowan and wanted to teach myself a variety of techniques in order to create a pregnancy album.

July 27, 2013

Menstrual Cycle Changes

So I find out later this week whether I'm losing my job or not. I'm not holding out a lot of hope on this one, the preschool that I teach at is going to be closing down (possibly at the end of the year) after a long community history. I've worked there for nine years, which is no small feat in itself.

It kind of throws a few things into disarray, namely our plans to move out of this apartment we've made home for the past four years, and future family plans. We're living as if this aforementioned news may not exist, and holding out hope that I can find another teaching position elsewhere if that is what happens. 

In other news, my body is taking a hormonal beating over the last few months, most likely being triggered by a reduction in breastfeeding. Rowan (27 months old) was previously feeding three times per day and he's tapered off to once a day now. This is mainly my doing - to be honest - and it's something that's surprised me as I consider myself an advocate for full-term (ie, self-weaning) breastfeeding. Why have my views changed? I don't know. The interesting part is that dropping Rowan's feeds weren't a struggle on his side, he has breakfast instead of a milk feed, and a cup of milk before his nap. Easy peasy, I thought the pre-nap feed would be the most difficult for him to give up, but it was the easiest one. The feed before bed at night? I'm not quite sure how we'll change that nighttime routine when the time comes (not any time soon, unless Rowan shows signs of being disinterested).

My body has been doing strange things as a result, with longer menstrual bleeding (ie, 7-10 days), more cramping and three weeks between cycles. Hardly promising on the fertility front (although perhaps I'm producing more lining now?), but hopefully it all settles itself again soon as my body gets used to its 'new normal' once more. 

July 7, 2013

Rowan at 2.25 Years Old

Rowan, our little Pickle - today you are two-and-a-quarter years old. You are so cheeky, vivacious and energetic, and love to dance, sing and you are learning to jump at the moment.

Car trips have become big adventures in recent months as you give us a running commentary of everything that you see: "Look Mummy, a digger!" "I see two tractor!" "Wow... a big bus. And look, a tram too!" "It nighttime, the cars have lights on" "The car have a 'P' on it. Where the 'B' for bunny??"

Are you sensing a theme here? You absolutely adore vehicles at the moment and are happiest when playing "car parks", or with "Hannah, Dan and the caravan" (a game you made up with toys from the toy library). You will line up your cars, send them down ramps, take them on trips around the house (mainly to Coles, shopping centres, Aldi or the petrol station at the moment; all places that you have been to close to home).

It was as if the moment you turned two, you figured out that you could sing. You have a remarkable memory for songs, and sing loudly an confidently! Some of your favourites are The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (and the Daddy Drives a Motor Car version), Three Cheeky Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and Bananas in Pyjamas

You go to childcare on Mondays and Tuesdays, and these are very big days for you. I drop you off at 7.45am and pick you up at 5pm. I would much rather we spend our days home together but you really love childcare and talk about your teachers often (mainly Kacey and Jackie). I ask you about the things you do at childcare, and I hear all about the sandpit, playdough, nap time, food times and your Bunny. You also spend Fridays with Nana (my Mum) and one of your routines is to go out for coffee (babycino) and a muffin together for morning tea.

Speaking of Bunny, you are still lovingly attached to your bunnies (you have 4 now!) and they must ALL come to bed with you at night. You make loud 'cuddle' sounds (which sound a bit like "ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh cuddlecuddle") and occasionally share them with us too. You are starting to learn about possession and if someone picks up one of the bunnies to put them away you say "that's MY Bunny!". In fact, we all hear a lot about "that's my...." at the moment.

Your two year-old molars are just starting to come through, and besides lots of saliva, chewing objects and a red cheek you're coping well with them so far. We play a game together where we look at each other's "new teeth" and you enjoy looking in our mouths (and we get to see inside yours too).

You are 93cm tall (36.5") and weigh 13.6kg (30lb).

You were quite sick in June, which started with a cold that didn't get better. You ended up with bronchitis, a chest infection and ear infection, which resulted in your first course of antibiotics ever (I'm proud that you didn't need any until you were two year old).

Getting an x-ray to rule out pneumonia (you were very brave!)

Your favourite foods at the moment are dried cranberries, "warm milk" (cow's milk), bread, honey, macaroni-shaped pasta, apple and country cheese biscuits. You have a big appetite and often surprise us with how much you eat (especially when you go through a growth spurt, as you are at the moment). 

You currently have two breastfeeds per day - one first thing in the morning before breakfast, and one before bed at night. You cut out the feed before nap in the last month (Mummy helped with this one), as you were getting distracted from growing sleepy. It has surprised us with how quickly you got used to your new routine of watching an episode of Peppa Pig on the tablet, having a cup of warm milk and going into your cot. I could see you learning to give up your other feeds too, but there isn't really any need to right now so I think they'll remain for the time being while you're still interested in them.

You are very interested in asking questions, and you constantly ask "what's that noise" or "where Daddy/Mummy going?". You are highly inquisitive and notice minute details of things that as adults we tend to miss. You also like to exert your independence and tell us you'd like to walk instead of being carried, what books you'd like read to you, foods you do or don't want to eat, or what you want to do at any given moment!

You have grown up so much in the past three months and it will be amazing to see what you're interested in in another three months time.

Love Mummy and Daddy.

July 1, 2013


It may be a long road to pregnancy like the first time, but I'm confident that we'll get there in the end. Exciting (and nerve-wracking!) times to follow. ;)

June 13, 2013

When Toddlers Lash Out

I don't know how much longer we'll have before Rowan's cot needs to be turned into a toddler bed:

Yesterday was SUCH a tiring day. Seriously, I feel more exhausted than if I'd worked a full day with a preschool group. Rowan was absolutely on fire today with tantrums over nothing, his getting upset about not wanting to breastfeed (but being conflicted and having a meltdown because he said no and then couldn't make his mind up), and refusing a nap. He did perk up when going to a 2 hour staff meeting at my work tonight though (5pm-7pm... not an ideal time for a 2 year-old at the best of times, but he handled it like a champ).

The silly, 'naughty' behaviours (as in when he deliberately does the wrong thing) are extremely frustrating and I know it's all part of this age and stage but.... phew. I know we have it lucky and Rowan is usually pretty easy to reason with, and he does listen. But at the moment I feel as though I'm not doing a very good job of parenting him, when he's kicking and hitting at me I'm still trying to figure out whether to offer comfort or to move away and make sure there's a safe space around him to let him thrash it out.

Toddlers, huh? And to think that people often choose to have more than one child! ;P

Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, right??

May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

It is Mother's Day here in Australia today, my third with a child on the outside (Rowan was 5 weeks old on my first one). As he lay in my arms feeding to sleep during naptime this afternoon, I realised how lucky I am, and the journey that it took to conceive him.

It’s beginning to hit me again that even though we have a terrific toddler and my body carried him well as a foetus, deep down I doubt that my infertility is something that has gone away. Hearing lots of baby news from other people I know personally lately (not online) has left me feeling jaded and envious, rather than genuinely happy for my friends. And this is something venomous that I want to stop the spread of, before it overwhelms me and my way of thinking. The interesting part is that I can understand how some people are happy with one child, their one and only. I completely get it, Rowan is the centre of my world and part of me is reluctant to change that. To go through everything again and perhaps not be so lucky (in conception, pregnancy or a child’s development). But I know that we won’t know until it happens, that so many other people (myself included) falter on the precipice of change.

Reading this back in a year’s time, will I nod and stand by my thoughts? 
Will I smile and remember how it felt to be trying to balance my mind?
Or will I laugh and simply consider myself silly for being afraid to take the plunge?

April 7, 2013

Rowan Turns 2!

Happy 2nd birthday to our big TWO year-old boy. He was so excited for his party and said "After sleep it Rowie birthday. Eat a cake at party! . Sure enough, there was cake and plenty of festivities. :)

Here are some pictures of the birthday boy:
Rowan playing with his birthday present from us, a wooden stove/food set.

Singing Happy Birthday and getting excited about "Hip hip hooray!"

My first attempt ever at making a shaped cake (I was really pleased with it too!).

Receiving a present from one of his friends (my Mum is the blonde-haired woman in the background, Dad to the right of her)

Being doted on by my parents.

It was a great day (lots of organisation required, but a successful one)

Pretty much the only picture of Rowan playing all day, he was so fast!

March 16, 2013

Rowan at 23 Months Old

Just a quick few notes about Rowan at 23 months, next month will most likely be the last of the monthly developmental posts (as I originally started noting things down here for his baby book... which turned into the second year album also).
Rowan started rote-counting 1-10 this month, which surprised us as it happened out of nowhere (childcare, maybe?).

He is starting to incorporate more verbs and is getting more consistent with sentence syntax, eg:
"Mummy come go see Daddy"
"Rowie look at digger"
"Mummy stay home"
"Lay down milk on the bed" (a breastfeed)

Rowan likes to point out happy and sad faces on pictures in books, and is beginning to recognise these on people too.

The discovery of emotions is upon us, and not just happy and sad, but scared too. If something happens in a book or on TV, Rowan can often be heard saying "oh dear, oh dear!", "uh oh!" or having a cry (which was the case while reading the book Belinda, by Pamela Allen, recently).

There are more angry tantrums too, and more excitement. Emotions are up and down, with big extremes. He will get really excited when anticipating an event (sometimes meaning no nap!), and will tell you first thing in the morning about what is happening that day.

Current favourite foods: Rice Bubbles, sour cream, chocolate, hardboiled eggs (whites only), watermelon.

Rowan likes to have a say on the clothing and shoes he is wearing, and quite often packs a bag (without prompting) to take out and about. It usually contains a drink, a toy or two, and something random like a piece of paper from the floor). He'll put it around his neck or over one shoulder, very cute!

Water play is still a favourite pasttime.

I am so glad that most nap times since Rowan's birth have been taken
with him having a breastfeed to sleep. 23 months strong!

Pretend play and serving food with a toy library party set.

Feeding Daddy while out at lunch.

Kisses for Mummy on her birthday. :)

Next stop.... TWO!

February 23, 2013

Rowan at 22 Months Old

Typing "22 months" suddenly seems like a huge number (maybe it's all those 2s?), as if to say that Rowan's second year of life is rapidly coming to an end and soon he'll be in his THIRD year! Holy cow! :O

I'll be continuing these monthly developmental-type entries up until he turns 24 months (these entries form his second year scrapbook, and are really a record-keeping device for me, much like this blog was during my pregnancy). After that, I'm not sure what? I most likely won't be pregnant for a bit -- I fear that this blog has become a little too public for my liking, as I've shared its URL with family and friends during the course of pregnancy and Rowan's infant months, and am not sure who reads. Do I want friends and family to know of our next IVF journey if/when the time comes? (it would be so nice to have the opportunity to be private and secretive) I express myself through words (okay... and pictures) and always have, as a blogger for over 12 years it's just in my blood now, I can't imagine not leaving a legacy online.

Anyway... this blog is evolving again and who knows what this will become. Now onwards and upwards to Rowan's 22 month entry!

It has been a big month in terms of Rowan's language development. He has been exploring the concepts of "come" (ie, "Mummy come", "Rowie come Dada") and "in" ("in da car", "in da road", "in Rowie bed").We're hearing some pretty long sentences too, as Rowan learns more about using syntax correctly; a recent one was "Rowie door walk see Dada" (he wanted to go out the front door and walk outside to wait for Matt to come home from work). Another recent one was "Uh oh. Rowie flick yoghurt. Mummy clean up", which pretty much blew everything else out of the water.

With an explosion in language comes adult slip-ups, more than once we've said something inappropriate and Rowan's tried to imitate it and repeat it on occasion...oops!

Rowan's pretend play is coming along a bit too, he's beginning to use objects and toys for different purposes (such as sitting a giraffe on a ride-on toy and pushing it around), anything with buttons becomes a phone and a favourite game at the moment is pretending to talk to various family members on these 'phones'. Rowan will make eating sounds while pretending to eat his felt foods, and feeds them to us too! Anything involving throwing/kicking balls is always a winner too.

"Rowie sore foot" :(

This month Rowan had his first proper injury, he fell off our pedal bin onto the tiled kitchen floor and twisted/sprained his ankle. We ended up taking him to the doctor because he wasn't weight-bearing on it the day after the accident happened. It was strapped up for a couple of days while the swelling went down and it helped Rowan feel confident about walking on that foot again (he called that bandage a "sock"). Just thankful that he didn't do more damage, really!

Ready for his first day in the toddler room at childcare
Rowan started attending childcare two days per week this month (up from one day) and so far so good. He has transitioned into the toddler room and apparently he sleeps there... on a stretcher-type bed, and not a cot! How the carers manage to get him to do that is beyond me, but admittedly Rowan has been getting himself to sleep better these past couple of months - in fact, it's rare that he wakes during the night anymore, except for the occasional bad dream or if he is unwell or teething. Fingers crossed that this continues, as it's making for a better night's sleep for us all.

Happy as a pig in mud, dirt/sand/food face on a park playdate.
Rowan and I at the zoo earlier this month (I didn't realise how many
doors there were at the zoo until we took a toddler there...!)
Helping me bake cake. I gave Rowan the option of apple or chocolate, and he surprised me
by choosing apple)

Doing a dance for us!
Be still, my heart.