‘Tis the season…Pt 2

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  True.  But my feelings can’t help but be a bit up-and-down like a see-saw.  So I decided to split my post into two.  Depending on how you are feeling this season, you may only want to read one or the other.  Maybe you feel a little bit like me, so read both!

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Pt 2: ‘Tis the season to be not so jolly


‘Tis the season to be not so jolly

I already blogged about the difficulties of the holiday season for those of us struggling with infertility (my post is here), so I won’t cover old ground.  But this isn’t always the season to be jolly.  And as much as I have equally had lot’s of jolly things going on, I have recognised that life isn’t always quite so jolly at this time of year.

1. Gift Shopping.  I hate shopping at the best of times, and shopping with the Christmas crowds – my worst nightmare – I’ve written about this before.  Shopping for baby gifts – EUGHHHH.  I am an emotional roller coaster with this one!  I love buying cute baby stuff, but when I see cute baby Christmas stuff – especially adorable onesies with “My 1st Christmas” I’m a wreck.  I don’t think I need to say anymore about this one.

2. Distance.  I am a few thousand miles from some of my greatest friends and of course my family.  So when my mum told me she had received my Christmas Parcel and cried, I cried.  Damn it.   It’s not easy being far from loved ones at this time of year.  We have had lovely offers from friends inviting us over to theirs for Christmas Day, but in fact this is something we just can’t do this year.  We are going to start our own family traditions – I wrote about that already – we are excited to do this, but it’s not easy to do.  Some people may say that we are lucky we don’t have to deal with ‘forced family reunions’ with nosey inquisitive family members; but even if we were back in the UK we are lucky that we have the most supportive family that this wouldn’t happen for us.

3.  Trying to Conceive.  Officially we are allowed to try to conceive again, but I have mixed emotions about it.  I wrote a separate post about it so I won’t repeat it, but this has been playing my mind this week.

4. Facebook.  A friend posted on facebook what seemed to be a pregnancy announcement, until you get to the bottom of the long carefully written post and realise they are just talking about santa clause.  It was poor taste for someone like me struggling to get pregnant…but even more so because I felt sad that this couple may just find them selves to be one of the “1 in 8 facing infertility” one day.  I wanted to tell them it was in poor taste, but then realised that I would just come across as a scrooge bag as so many people had already commented how funny it was.

5. Money worries.  As my credit card bares the scars of many swipes this holiday season and our bill from the infertility clinic shows up with a surprise payment from September, I have the constant feeling of every penny counts.  Actually, we are very fortunate to be in a comfortable financial position, but I want to keep our options open for the future and don’t want to close a door because I didn’t keep control of our outgoings.  But Christmas is a time for giving, so in general I don’t feel guilty for the gifts I purchase or the charities we give to – it’s just the gifts that Chris and I give each other and the seemingly endless nights of eating out that make me feel guilty!!!

6. Coping with loss.  This applies to anyone who has lost a loved one, not just those who have had to deal with losing a child, as well as anyone who has experienced loss of something of their physical self.  Ultimately the Christmas holidays plays heavy on the heart of someone who has lost their hopes and dreams.  As I sip my cup of tea in my new mug “When it rains look for rainbows” this reminds me to remember the positive things and love that I have been lucky to have experienced and made me a richer person, and “When it’s dark look for stars”, this reminds me to look up and remember our dreams are still out there and we are being watched over.  It’s still difficult, and gets harder getting closer to the big day itself.

be nice

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you nothing about.  Be kind. Always.


We have far more jollynesss to keep us going for the festive season  but it’s these kinds of things that remind me it isn’t easy for everyone, and even more so for many more people who don’t have the jolly things I described in my earlier post.

On the subject of coping with the festive season.  Resolve has an excellent fact sheet about coping with the holidays (here) – it provides a collection of great articles I recommend for reading over a cup of tea.  You may need some tissues to go with that too.

‘Tis the season…Pt 1.

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  True.  But my feelings can’t help but be a bit up-and-down like a see-saw.  So I decided to split my post into two.  Depending on how you are feeling this season, you may only want to read one or the other.  Maybe you feel a little bit like me, so read both!

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Pt 2: ’tis the season to be not so jolly


Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

I don’t know why I love the festive season.  Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the gift giving/receiving, maybe it’s the family coming together or maybe it’s just that time when the year is coming to an end where you can draw a line under the past 12 months and feel excited to start afresh with the New Year.  Or, in my case, perhaps it’s because it is also my Birthday ;-p

This is the first Christmas we will spend in Virginia.  The first Christmas in the US we spent it in Vermont skiing, this is where we decided to make a go of becoming parents.  The second Christmas we returned back to the UK and rented a cottage so both our families could stay with us for the holidays.  This third Christmas is less exciting in comparison, we are staying put.  But this is exciting to me because I can finally buy Chris a gift that is bigger than my suitcase!!!

This past week has been filled with festivities abound.  Not just in the physical sense, but the emotional sense too.  Here is a summary of the amazingness (or jolly, if you like) that I have experienced so far:

1. Home made mince pies.  If you read one of my previous posts you will know that these are not easy to come by in the US.  I made Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess Cranberry studded mincemeat pies (recipe here).

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Home made Cranberry Studded Mincemeat star topped pies

My goodness, that pastry was so flaky and the mincemeat so juicy I couldn’t believe that I actually made them.  I shared them with some of my non-British colleagues at work who were intrigued as to what these ‘mincemeat pies’ were.  They didn’t spit it out in front of my face so that had to be a good thing 🙂

2. Decorating my house with a CHRISTMAS TREE!!!  The first time in the US!  OK so we still didn’t buy a real christmas tree, we wanted to see how our terrorquisitive cat Diesel would deal with one.  So we bought a small fake one.  He eats anything that has a dangly bit or rubber on it.  So far so good…everything remains in one piece and the tree still stands.

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It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

I also treated myself to one of those German wooden spinning pinwheels.  I have wanted one for aaaaages.  Every time I go to Germany I go to buy one and realise I don’t have enough room in my bags.  Plus they are quite expensive!

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I don’t know why I love it so much!!!

When the lady at TJMaxx rung it up, she exclaimed -“$40 for that!!!!”, I pointed out that in Gemany these were usually over $100.  Anyway, I love it.

3. My first Resolve support group meeting.  Resolve is the US national infertility association and they provide various forms of support for people with infertility. I picked up a flyer from my clinic about this local Resolve monthly meeting about 8 months ago when we were going through our third IUI procedure.  I left it in my ‘to do’ pile of paper work and each month thought about going and never got round to it.  Finally I got round to it!!!  I am so pleased I did.  I met some lovely ladies who just get it.  It was good to talk, and good to listen to their stories too.  I will definitely be going again.

4. The #TTCMugExchange2015.  I participated in the Mug Exchange that Chelsea from Starbucks, Peace and Pursuit of a Baby organised.  This week I received my mug and a few extra lovely goodies!

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I was spoilt with a box of goodies as well as a mug, cosy socks, an Irish Angel of Hope and a travel journal.

The mug I received was so beautiful.  Quite honestly, I think it is the best one I have seen 🙂

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My exchange partner is a bright and bubbly girl from Northern Ireland, she was originally told she would have to do IVF privately but just found out that the NHS will do IUI, so she is preparing for her first treatment!!!  She doesn’t blog, but is on Instagram.  As a result I’ve taken to trying out Instagram you can follow me @thegreatpuddingclubhunt if you have an account!

5. Just feeling the love around me.  We have received lots of invites for Christmas day so we are not alone; we have received lots of cards sending us well wishes and Christmas pressies that now sit under our tree.  And sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.  At a work gathering our big boss spoke about a whole bunch of work things and then he turned to talking about the holidays.  He pointed out that this is the time to look around at our neighbours and check they are doing OK.  The holiday season can be difficult for some people, and if we notice someone looking sad, down or simply stressed, take a minute to stop and ask “Are you doing OK?”  then listen.

love

Home Sweet Home!

The cats are alive and well.  The house survived the storms and is generally still in one piece (apart from a few gross piles of hairball vomit and one chewed up oven mitt).  The suitcases are unpacked.  We are surrounded by piles of stinky washing.  But there is nothing better than the feeling of climbing into your own bed after two weeks of being on the dusty road, cramped up, sleeping in a camper van!! (Albeit a wickedly amazing campervan)

This was our 'cosy' home for the last two weeks - AKA Trippy.

This was our ‘cosy’ home for the last two weeks – AKA Trippy.

Home sweet home feels great right now!!

Our 2200 mile road trip is sadly over and I have much catching up to do.  Apparently a lot happens in 2 weeks when one has stepped away from the internet and phones!

I am absolutely stoked to be back blogging again after my long 2 week break.  I have had a lot of thoughts running around my head because, well, I have had a lot of time to think!  Most days we were hiking somewhere, occasionally in the ‘wilderness’, so there was plenty of opportunity to go off into my thoughts in the deep, dark, corners of my brain…and of course there was also ample opportunity for Chris and I to talk about some of the deeper and meaningful things in life.

There was the odd occasion when it was just the two of us for miles alone.

There was the odd occasion when it was just the two of us for miles alone.

So with all that time ‘alone’, I have some future blog posts in mind I will be writing over the next few weeks…

1. A discovery – How far Chris and I are both willing to go with fertility treatment

2.  The future size of our family

3. Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month & the wave of light (I missed the wave on the 15th October as we were camped out somewhere in the desert, but Chris and I had a long discussion about it) 😦

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4. Recognising the signs and symptoms of depression

5. What are we gambling? (inspired by our stay in Las Vegas!)

vegas

Our grand total winnings from the Ultimate Poker Table – 2 x Half Dollar Coins

6.  An introduction to Dib Dab – our traveling cat

Dib Dab at Bryce Canyon

Dib Dab at Bryce Canyon

Dib Dab at Mesa Verde

Dib Dab at Mesa Verde

Our holiday was just what the doctor ordered (Well not what my doctor ordered, who actually wanted me back at home for weekly beta blood tests!! Ha!).

Tomorrow I am back in the thick of work, as well as hopefully my last beta blood test (fingers crossed it is 0 now) 🙂  Also there is some catching up to do on reading some other wonderful blogs!  I’m hoping to read some good news !!!

Pregnancy chances increase among women who soak up sun before IVF treatment

Pregnancy chances increase among women who soak up sun one month before IVF treatment

I was researching my next blog post and accidentally came across this recent headline.  Basically, some Belgian researchers discovered that an increased exposure to sunshine one month before conception can increase chances of getting pregnant by IVF by more than a third.  WOAH.  An increase in chances of a positive outcome by a third?  Chris…quick book us a holiday to the Caribbean and let’s hit that beach! Stat!

Well, we do know that melatonin is important in cell development, as well as the importance of Vitamin D, so it does make some sense.  So I tried to hunt down the source of this claim.  It took me aaaages because the researcher they referenced was not the prime author.  Anyway.  It seems the researchers from Ghent University have not yet published their findings in a paper, but I did find their poster from the conference, so you can take a look at the results for yourself.  Now there are definitely some significant findings there, but as we all know, correlation doesn’t equal causation….but I’m happy to give the sun a go!  It’s pretty low risk, doesn’t require giving up anything and who doesn’t love a bit of sun?! Now, I wonder whether the factor of suncream makes a difference…hmmm….

So ladies – we all know about honey moons and baby moons…now we need to make pre-conception moons a thing #preconceptionmoon (I’m sure it will catch on).