28 December 2012

Our first month

It was good to be home.  We had lots of visitors, recovered pretty well from the ordeal in hospital.  Still had numbness around my hips.  It was a great time just hanging out with baby & Jon was home a lot from work too.


18 December 2012

The aftermath

Once reunited with Jay & meeting baby for the first time the feelings were unbelievable!  The drugs were still wearing off -- or should I say still kicking in and things seemed all very strange & surreal.  It was amazing to hold Gabriella for the first time & the disconnect between the labour & her birth in my brain was kinda weird.  Even now it is hard to relate the two things.  Jon had waited for me to weigh her & do the other kinda measurements -- he too was exhausted!
She weighed in at 7 pounds 11 & was 51 cm tall, she was absolutely beautiful!
My parents turned up not long after that & so did my sister.  We also had other visitors in the next few days.
I wasn't feeling too bad, although the drugs were masking my pain.  Everything seemed to be in healing process and it looked as if I would stay in hospital a day or so (it was Wed morn she was born) and that we could most likely transfer back to Kaitaia hospital on Thurs or Friday.  On Thursday morning my midwife was wanting to get me up & showered so I could get my catheter out & ready to move on out.  As I went to sit up, the whole world started spinning -- a shower was looking out of the question.  My head started to pound & we realised that all was not well.  Jon instead gave me a sponge bath (poor boy!) and the doctors came to assess me.  They reported that while the anesthetist was trying to get the spinal block in that he withdrew some blood on one of the attempts & realsied that my spinal fluid area had been pierced (whether then, or previously we don't know) and that with this tiny hole my pressure was all upset & that I was experiencing "spinal headaches"!  The only cure for it was another procedure or to wait it out lying flat on my back.  Drinking lots of caffeine would also help.  So we opted for buying a big bottle of coke (I hadn't drunk it for about 2 years & didn't say I enjoyed it!) and me lying flat on my back.  Feeding baby was proving difficult from this position, but she was a very good sleeper & the midwives & lactation consultants were very helpful.  At 7pm each night though they would go home & we would have a nurse come on shift, some of these were great -- others were not that helpful.  I found the nights very frightening & didn't sleep much at all.
Thursday night Jon had to leave to go back to Kaitaia & we had arranged for his sister (Geordie) to come down to be with me.  We were hoping that maybe she would be able to drive me back to Kaitaia on Friday.  But on Friday morn we attempted the shower again -- this time I pushed through & enjoyed the shower until near the end when I nearly fainted & the midwife had to help me.  I realised that the headaches were getting worse & I wouldn't be going home! :-(
The anesthetist came back to explain to me the procedure they could do which was called a spinal block.  They would insert a needle again into the spinal fluid area & then get some blood from my arm & put that into the area.  It would hopefully clot over the hole & fix my problem.  As you can imagine I was very hesitant to go through with this & definitely didn't want to make the decision without Jon.  Geordie was amazing during this time, very supportive and helpful.  Saturday came & went, still feeling no better (although it was great to have my friend & also bridesmaid --Vanessa Hughey -- make a surprise visit to see me!) in fact I was feeling very anxious and worried and really needed some spiritual breakthrough & prayer.  Geordie stayed on into Saturday night (even though she wasn't really allowed to) and we prayed & cried and committed all to God.  It had been really hard to enjoy Gabriella and being a new Mum with all that had been & was continuing to happen.
Sunday morning arrived & so did Jon -- after talking with the anesthetist again we decided to go with this procedure (asking for the most experienced anesthetist & loads of other questions).  At 10:30 they wheeled me back down to theatre -- me praying all the way!  The anesthetist was an older German man who immediately put my mind at ease & they did the procedure quickly with no hiccups.  All the time I was praying & bearing the pain (I had to sit up for the procedure!) -- the nurse commented on how well I did (she was the same nurse who held me down for the first epidural!) and I said I was praying the whole time.
As they lay me down to recover the headache was still there (in fact it was worse lying down -- the opposite to what it had been) but i could feel it gradually wearing off.  By the time they had wheeled me back to the ward I was feeling heaps better all though I still wasn't sure about it.  Gradually over the next 1-2 hours I started to feel that it was clearing & I attempted a shower successfully.  We then asked to be discharged  and by about 3pm that day I was so happy to be driving out of the hospital with our new baby in the car on our way back home.  Burger King was a nice thought after the yucky hospital food, but even that wasn't very nice. It was such a relief to get back home -- nothing felt better.  And although it took a good 2 weeks or so to feel kind of back to normal the worst was over.  The C Section scar healed very quickly, what took the longest to heal was the feeling in my hips & top of my thighs -- it took a very long time for that to return.
Never again an epidural & never again an induction!
In spite it all though -- thankyou Lord for my health & my healthy baby :-)

6 December 2012

The last journey...

Well we left Kaitaia on Monday about 2:30pm, with the house clean & tidy.  Once we got to Whangarei we killed a bit of time shopping, walking in the park & having 'the last supper.' I chose to go to a Italian restaurant & enjoyed pizza, wedges & salad.  Little did I know it was going to be the best meal I had in a week!
We arrived at the hospital & was admitted to a room where I was hooked up to a monitor to see how baby was doing & to monitor my contractions.  After an hour of this they decided everything was ok, so inserted the first lot of a hormone gel into me to start the whole induction process.
We both then got ourselves sorted for a goodnights sleep (only interrupted by some screaming by another lady at some stage in the morning!).
9am the next morn they examined me again & told me I had dilated about 1-2cm.  They thought about trying to break my waters then, but decided instead on another lot of the hormone gel.  After that application I thought I would go have a shower, but it prompted contractions to start & with only a few minutes between each one, the shower idea went out the window.  About 10ish my waters  did break a little bit & the contractions started to get stronger.  By about 12:00 they were strong enough for me to be given the gas -- which became my friend for the next 18 hours!  This was all ok until about 3:30 when I had dilated enough for the midwife to break my waters.  Pretty much straight after that, the contractions got stronger & more intense & the discussion turned to more pain relief.  The gas & also pethadene with the strength of the contractions was not going to get me through to the end of the delivery.  So we opted (rather quickly) for the epidural option.  We were moved into a delivery room & a doctor was asked to put a IV drip in.  With small veins & me moving around a lot, this seemed to take awhile & so when the anesthetist arrived in the room it hadn't been done.  She seemed a little annoyed at this & after 2-3 attempts of getting in the epidural & it wasn't working she kinda snapped at me.  With the 4th attempt, the nurses holding me down & me chomping down on the gas she got the epidural in.  We then settled down with the pain under control & they decided to put another hormone into my drip line to increase the  contractions & carry on with the induction procedure.
** Please note -- the details from this point on are blurry for me & I have relied on Jay for a lot of what actually happened!
All was well for a few hours -- until I started to feel the contractions again (which were very strong & intense due to the hormones they were giving me) and back came the gas.  The anesthetist was called & she gave me some stronger drugs, and whole lot of other stuff, which seemed to work.  Again we had relief for about an hour & then again it began to wear off & the gas came back.  By this stage it was about midnight & I think I had dilated to the point of about 4cm.  At some point they gave me some other drugs (which made me say weird things) which helped a little, but basically through the rest of the night the contractions came thick & fast & the gas plus holding onto Jay's arm on one side & a midwife on the other side was what helped me get through.  I did dilate to about 8-9cm and through out the night we kept hoping that things would progress.  I kept asking how long things would be & dealing with contractions as best I could.
By 5:30am and things going nowhere plus me in a lot of pain with no energy left, the decision was made to go for a C-section.  Out came all the drugs & other things & I was wheeled down to theater   Once there they attempted 3 times to get a spinal block in but to no avail so they elected to go for a general anesthetic   Because of this decision Jay was unable to come in & be there while they operated.  Of course from this point on I remember nothing except waking up in recovery & feeling very sore & out of it.  In the meantime they had delivered a beautifully, healthy baby girl at 6:33am who Jay had been looking after her & waiting for me.

I came to about 8am & once I was all drugged up the trip back up to the ward was excruciating as I couldn't wait to see my baby & be back with Jay.

22 November 2012

40 weeks

That number always seemed completely unbelievable, and now it is here it still seems completely unbelievable!
People keep asking me if I am nervous or excited & I don't really know how to reply, cos I'm not sure how I feel.
It is something we have prayed, dreamed & hoped about for so long that the reality of it has not yet even hit. The pregnancy has keep my mind pre-occupied because of all the changes & strange things happening to my body.
Now at the culmination of it all, at times I do wonder "What have we done?" For us it was such a conscious decision to go ahead & have a baby, in fact we have moved half-way round the world to do so -- to me it seems much more a decision than a natural process.
I suppose this also is strange for me because I tend to be the type of person who doesn't think too hard about a decision until after it's too late!
Anyway that's one side of my brain -- the other side is looking forward to meeting this little one & seeing what she looks like, holding her in our arms & then hopefully doing a decent job parenting her! :-)
This is what I look like with my stomach blown up like a huge balloon at 39 weeks.
39 weeks
So now at pretty close to 40 weeks, we have just had a meeting at Kaitaia hospital with the obstetrician.
And the outcome is that we will not be able to have the baby in Kaitaia because it is an IVF baby. 
Also because of that they won't take the risk of her being overdue, so they have booked us in for an induction on Monday 26th Nov in Whangarei hospital.
Even if I go into labour naturally before then we will have to travel to Whangarei for the birth. 
Cant say I'm really looking forward to the extra travel or that we have only found out about this now, but that is the way it is. I would really have liked to have the baby here in our own town & with the people we know, just up the road from our house...
So I wonder where I will be & what I will be doing this time next week -- seems strange to try & imagine!  Life will change SO dramatically in such a short amount of time!
I think the phrase for the next few weeks will be "Keep calm & carry on." :-)


12 October 2012

6 weeks to go!

Starting to get a little nervous now as the countdown begins for real!  I have been keeping mainly well, although I have slowly been getting slower & slower & less and less energy.  I decided to finish school 2 weeks out from the end of term because of my tiredness & losing focus on actually teaching!  It was a good move & my body benefited from it, especially with the build up to camp & then the week on camp.  It was a bit of a struggle & I really missed being so involved with camp, in fact I found it rather boring & not as exciting as usual because I didn't spend a lot of time with the kids -- the part I really enjoy!  The past week or so, she has been moving A LOT -- which you can see on the video below, but also I have found it almost impossible to sleep.

We went to the midwife today & she told me that the baby is not in the right position -- her head is down, so she is not breech, but her back is at my back, which is not ideal.  So she wants me to get her to move, so I have to spend 10 minutes twice a day on my hands & knees (which is actually really sore) to try & get her to come around. I am hoping this may ease my un-comfortableness & help me to sleep better.  Apparently she still has quite a bit of room to move, so this shouldn't be a problem.  She is at the moment still quite a small baby -- I have only gained about 8-9kg since I started going to the midwife at week 12.
I have started thinking about getting nappies & other things sorted for her & got a list of things to try to purchase or get somehow.  Jon is also working hard on the babies room.  It actually is starting to become an imminent event on our horizon...and we can't wait to meet her :-)

15 August 2012

Last third...

Now being over 25 weeks, it means I am now about to enter the third trimester!
I am feeling pretty good & heaps of people tell me I am glowing -- whatever that means & not that I can see it myself!!
Tiredness is really my best friend at the moment, along with not sleeping all that well -- I seem to wake myself up every time I have to turn my wine-barrel body over!  I feel as though I have swallowed a gold-fish bowl & there is a small little "Dora the Explorer" roaming around in there!
I am definitely getting bigger & bigger (it seems each day!) and it is starting to get uncomfortable -- such as getting up out of the chair, or thinking I will just run & grab something.  Yeah funny joke! O well I guess I have bigger to go & am just having to learn to slow down a little.

She is very active & kicks A LOT!  I am wondering if she will be like me & walking at 8-9 months!! Jon went to listen to her heartbeat the other day (with a toilet roll inner to his ear) and got a good boot for his efforts -- he said it was rather loud!  
The babies room & things to be bought have kinda started, but not to much extent.  I think I will really kick into this once I finish school & my days off start in earnest.  Rather looking forward to that :-)


23 July 2012

20 weeks

Well time seems to be both flying by & also dragging!
I am now over half-way through our pregnancy now and I have a little tummy to show for it, which seems to get bigger each day!  I am also starting to really feel the tiredness kick in.  I am aiming to finish work at the end of this term -- looking forward to that! :-)
In the holidays we went for our 20 week scan.  We were hoping for some 3D images and a video but were disappointed & also not that impressed with the staff at the Radiology centre.  O well, we still got to see our little one & were again blown away by the amazing ness of the technology to see & even more than that the little creation that God has allowed to grow within me.
We found out we were having a little girl, which came as a bit of a surprise!  They measured everything and pointed out the different parts -- I think for me the feet were the cutest, measuring just 3cm & so perfectly formed.  But it was also interesting to see the blood pumping through the 4 heart chambers and all the other parts.  The head measured quite small for her age, but we were assured that it was probably just because of the position she was in.
Here are a few photos -- see if you can figure out what is what!!


20 June 2012


After saying that I wasn't feeling sick -- week 11-15 decided to give me a run for my money & although I never actually spewed, I did spend a lot of my time feeling rather sick.  We went away for Queen's birthday (long weekend) and wished we had stayed at home!
Along with that I have had quite bad headaches/migraines quite consistently almost every week that last a day or two.
The progress to report though is that has only been for a short time & I am now feeling mostly back to normal.  I still have strange food likes & dis-likes -- Jon is rather sick of having potatoes most nights for dinner!
My jeans no longer fit me & I have started feeling very little movements.
I decided to at long last take a pregnancy test & although this was a little bit late -- at least I was going to be insured of a positive result...

The other night Jon got to feel the baby kicking & then a few nights later as he felt it kick, he pushed back & the baby kicked back as though they were communicating with each other!  Rather surreal! :-)


30 April 2012

First Scan

7 weeks into the pregnancy we were required to have our first scan.  This was scheduled in the holidays after Easter on 11th April.  We had to travel to Whangarei as that is the closest place for us under our Fertility Treatment clinic.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect -- all I knew was that it was uncomfortable because I had to have a full bladder!
Almost immediately after she got the picture up on the screen we could see the little baby & then Jon noticed straight away it's heart beating. It was almost as if the whole thing was a heart!  It was going crazy -- 153bpm.  She then measured it at 1.2cm long & told us that everything was fine & it was in the right place, right size & a good heartbeat.
It was quite a surreal experience and confirmed that something was happening down there -- that I truly was pregnant.  We had to stop & thank God -- we are truly fearfully & wonderfully made.
We then celebrated by going to our favourite Indian restaurant in Whangarei.  It was a good day.
Here are some pictures the radiologist gave us.

Heartbeat to the left

I am now 10 weeks pregnant and everything is going well so far.  I have felt a bit sick at times, but nothing too major.  I am always extremely tired & my eating habits have got very strange and are hard to understand.
We are in the process of finding a midwife up here & our Fertility clinic has signed us off & we will transfer through to the normal system.  I have also stopped taking the Progesterone pills I had been on since the egg had been put back, so things seem to progressing normally at the moment.
We are now just starting to think about preparing a room for baby & start buying things.  We have also made the news public to everyone -- not that it was a very well kept secret anyway!!

21 March 2012

One more step

On Sunday this last week it was 2 weeks since they collected my eggs & theoretically the first time they could find out if I was pregnant.  The blood test people here in Kaitaia don't open on a Sunday, so I had to wait until Monday.  I had it done about 8:30am and then had to wait all day for the phone call.
It eventually came about 3pm, and the news was that it was a positive test!  Wasn't really too sure how to react & ended up having a little cry!  I will need another test on Friday to confirm & also monitor my hormone levels.  I am thinking I might do a home pregnancy test then too, just so I can take a picture of the stick... :-)
We celebrated the news on Monday night with Jon mopping the basement floor from all the rain water that had flooded in there & me going to bed very early with a crazy migraine -- without taking any panadol!!
If all goes to plan, the baby will be due early December -- I am thinking the day the world is suppose to end would be good -- 12/12/12
O well, one more step along the journey...God is good :-)

14 March 2012

More of the journey

So 14 eggs collected, 10 were injected & 8 fertilised.  We waited until day 3 when there was a 8 celled egg that they were happy with to put back in.  This is the picture of it here, magnified a qwibillion times.  I think it is really less than the size of a pin-head!

They put it back in -- much like a smear test, no big deal really.  I could see it all on the ultrasound it was quite fascinating.  
The rest of the eggs they cultured on until day 5 when they froze 1, and then waited one more day to see if they could do anymore, which they could and they froze 1 more.
So in total we have 2 in the freezer & 1 implanted into my body :-)
Now it is just the waiting game -- I will take a blood test next Monday to find out whether I am pregnant or not.
I am back at work, feeling like normal (no more pain or bloating from the hormonal drugs & 14 eggs in my ovaries!).  I do have to insert progesterone drugs inside me 3 times a day which is kinda not all that nice, but don't seem to have any side-effects from that.
All in all it has gone rather smoothly & we have a lot to be thankful for.

5 March 2012

Our journey so far

2 weeks ago we got the call from the clinic to start the daily injections.  Since Jon has been doing training at St Johns it was going to be his job to jab me.  I wasn't really looking forward to it in case of side affects etc.  The first jab freaked me out a bit & I found myself sitting in a chair with the world spinning & feeling like I was going to spew.  The little "anxiety" attack passed pretty quickly & the rest of the injections were really no problem.  I did end up with a few bruises on my stomach & it wasn't all that nice, but my body responded well & almost felt like really enjoyed the hormones!

After a week of injections we travelled down to Auckland for our first scan. They found about 13 follicles the biggest being 16mm.  Two days later we had another scan & this time measured 12 follicles the biggest being 26mm.  By this stage I was feeling rather uncomfortable & bloated which is understandably because each month you normally develop 1 follicle which might get to 28mm on its own, yet I had another 11 or so in there too!

Last Friday night (2nd Mar) they instructed us to have the trigger injection which makes my body ovulate within 40 hours.  Therefore my scheduled egg collection was 36 hours after the injection before it would want to ovulate.

Here is Jon's viewpoint on the next bit of the process...

On Sunday Ruth had a mini-operation which went well but it wasn't all that easy for her. As they were putting her under the anaesthetic she freaked with the nasal oxygen and asked to sit up at which point she thought he couldn't go through with it. She steadied herself and prayed and after a short 10 minute intermission the procedure began. There were 2 female nurses - one for comfort, one as a doctor's assistant and then there was the male doctor who was collecting the eggs and the scientist (female) who was in charge off looking for eggs in the fluid. The doctor used a 12 inch needle to poke into each ovary under the aide of ultrasound to guide his way. I was in the room watching the procedure on screen and listening as the scientist kept us in the count of how many eggs were being found 4...8...14. There were a total of 14 retrieved and as Ruth was recovering I had to go and provide my part of the equation and so those have been combined in a process called ICSI (more accurate than conventional IVF) and we are waiting to hear back how many were successful. Apparently, not all the eggs are appropriate for fertilization as some of them are immature. Then after fertilization there is usually an 80% success rate of embryos produced. 
The replacement procedure, of which they allow us to put back only one as we are young, is to happen on Friday all going to plan. 

All of this has made us very thankful that we are back in NZ and not trying to attempt this procedure in Ukraine. The added pressure of not understanding would have clinched it for Ruth I reckon and the fact that at every step of the way it is all about the money and you providing your own equipment. And then not being sure if they are telling you the truth and asking for bribes...That is just a randomness that you don't need when you are getting into something as private and intimate as this. 

We have just had a phone call from the clinic to say that of the 14 eggs collected, 10 were mature enough to use & of those 10, 8 have fertilised effectively.  WOW -- that''s a big tribe :-)
More updates to come I assume, but it has been extremely humbling to have people all over NZ & the world praying & caring for us.  God has given us a huge peace about this & although hasn't been easy, we keep on trusting Him.  He is a good God & we rely on that fact.