Beginning our journey through NHS fertility testing

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Doctors Appointment April 2013

So after our testing at the private clinic last month we had decided if we weren’t successful the next cycle I would go to my GP which I did this week.

The main reason for going to the GP now is that if we are going to need any support to get pregnant we are not currently in the position to pay for this privately. I’m still of the positive camp that we won’t need help but at least the ball is rolling. Also having good AMH levels does not necessarily confirm ovulation and to do so requires further blood tests.

My GP was great, she suggested straight away on talking, that we will get 21 day bloods done to check for progesterone (or more accurately 7 days after ovulation bloods) This will check on whether I have ovulated by checking progesterone levels Though it’s like my body knows we are on a timescale this month and ovulation has gone into hiding so trying to book the right date for the bloods is proving to be a pain! I’ve already changed the date once and will now need to change it again.

There seems to be some discussion on the internet about normal levels but they seem to be around 30 on day 21 of your cycle so I will be hoping for that.

Also if I am not pregnant this cycle I am going to get day 3 bloods done, these ones will check Luteinising hormone, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) thyroid function, prolactin & testosterone

While researching bloods that are requested by your GP for the NHS I came cross a few care maps that are used to work through by the NHS when you go to them with fertility problems.

Care map for fertility problems NHS

Map of Female Fertility for NHS

I thought these might be helpful for others who are wondering what the procedure is and you can see them by clicking on the links. I found them really interesting to look at and it gives you an idea of what can be expected if you need to attend for any type of fertility investigations.

Once I have done my bloods done and the results are back (around 3 days) the GP has said she will put a referral straight into the fertility clinic at our local hospital, the quick response to this being due to the fact that I am now 35.

I got the standard, relax more, try and not think about it and she suggested not using any form of ovulation prediction kits, that part I’m not too sure I am quite ready to do yet though, I do understand that some people think that it stresses you out to use them but for me it is the only way I am actually being able to stay sane is if I have an idea of when I ovulated.

And so our journey continues….

Claire xx

Image Credit

Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

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It is my Nieces 7th birthday this week and we are going over to spend some time with her, so I thought it would be a nice idea to make some cupcakes to take over with us. I am sure she will already have a cake, but surely no one will say no to an extra little treat?

The recipe I used was from this book, under everyday cupcakes. I opted for plain vanilla as I know some of the kids can be a little picky.

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The recipe serves 12
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes

150g lightly salted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 180oC (350f) Gas Mark 4 – Though on speaking with one of my friends who has a very successful cake business, she suggested that I should have only done them at 170 for 18 minutes as I have a fan assisted oven – so bear that in mind if you do too

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It is a really easy recipe to follow, you need to line a 12 section bun tray. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand held electric whisk for 1-2 minutes until light and creamy then simply divide the mixture between the cases.

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For the icing I followed a recipe out of the Hummingbird Bakery cake days book for their buttercream vanilla frosting.

You will need:
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
50ml whole milk
1/2tsp vanilla essence

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Whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed using an electric whisk until fully combined and sandy in texture (watch out for the icing sugar going everywhere when you start!) Add the vanilla essence to the milk and pour into the butter and icing sugar while still mixing on a low speed, then increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.

I then spilt the mixture in half and added some food colouring so that I would get two different colour toppings. I then topped with sprinkles and coloured chocolate drops and some glitter.

For a finishing touch, I put them into a pretty cupcake box and tied with some ribbon. I’m really pleased with how they have turned out as my strong point is not baking that’s for sure.

I’m sure she will love them.

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Claire xx

What photography apps do you use?

As a new blogger I am trying my best to take some good photos that I can use on the blog, my only issue is I am really bad at taking my camera anywhere with me and I end up using my phone for most of my photograph taking. This has got me looking for great photography apps that I can use straight from my phone or iPad

I thought it would be good to share some of the ones that I have downloaded that I am finding really easy and good to use and see if anyone has any other suggestions for me.

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Adobe Photoshop is free to download, however to get access to all the features there are some in app purchases from between 0.69p and £2.99, obviously you don’t need to pay for these but I have found that some of the in app purchases have been well worth it.
Within this app you can crop, rotate, straighten and flip photos, work with colours and filters, add effects and also add borders.

I am finding it really helpful when it comes to cropping and straightening photos and can spend quite a while in this app playing with filters and effects.

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Big Lens is my next most used photography app, it cost 0.69p to download and I think it is worth every penny. The app enables you to auto focus, allows you to set the aperture and depth of field and adjust background light. I wanted an app that would help me to focus in on a particular subject and blur out backgrounds etc and this does just that. It also comes with a selection of lenses that allow out of focus light points to blur into shapes like hearts and stars and filters too, so lots of things that you can play with. While you are playing around it has a before and after preview button that you can click on at any point to see the difference with your original photo.

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I also wanted an app where I would have the ability to have photos side by side and I was recommended this one from a friend on twitter.
Picframe is 0.69p to download and comes with 71 adjustable frames with the ability to combine up to 9 photos in a single frame, you can also change the shape of your photos, add borders, shadows and patterns to the frames along with the ability to add a variety of text to your pictures.

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Following on from picframe and the ability to add text to your photos I went on the hunt for an app that would give me more fonts to work with and I found Over. Over is £1.49 to download, it comes with 28 fonts preloaded and the ability to buy 200 more as an in app purchase if you want to. It is really easy to use and I am loving the ability to put some nice fonts on my headline pictures.

There are literally hundreds of photography apps out there, quite a few of them are free and I do have others downloaded onto both my iPad and phone but these four are the ones that I am using the most and even more so now that I am blogging.

What photography apps do you use? Have a missed out on using any good ones that you would recommend?

Claire xx

From Infertility to Pregnancy Conference

I recently received an email from Sarah over at Fertile Mindset talking about an upcoming online conference called From Infertility to Pregnancy.  If you don’t follow Sarah I suggest if you are trying to conceive that you do, she specialises in EFT  (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

EFT, or Tapping, is a remarkable method of reducing and often eliminating negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, shame and anger to name just a few. The process is often quick, painless and simple to learn, with results that are real and permanent. 

I have used EFT through my work and really feel that it works and now I am using it for TTC, it costs nothing, doesn’t hurt and helps relax you, what is there to lose.

Anyway, Sarah held a tele summit a few months ago which was really interesting and I signed up to her emails, this one just came in yesterday and really caught my eye.  It is for an online conference which will be running over the course of two weeks, all you need is access to a computer or phone so you can listen in to the speakers.  You can sign up here and its free!  This is how the site describes the conference.

Let me ask you this….. 

  • Are you doing everything you have been told to do but you still do not have your baby?
  • Are you currently using ART  and you want to increase your chances of success?
  • Are you wondering if your stress is playing a role in your fertility?
  • Are you concerned about your age and feel like time is running out?
  • Are you interested in bringing some intimacy and joy back into the baby-making process?
  • Have you been wondering if a more natural treatment regimen might help?
  • Does your infertility have you feeling completely out of control?
  • Do you want to know everything you can to increase your chances of having a baby?

The conference will be running from the 21st April – 4th May and if you go on the site you can see the list of speakers and the schedule. The conference is based in the US and will run on PST time which is -8 hrs currently so most of the speakers will be on around 9pm our time.  You also have 48 hours to listen to them for free.

I’m a great believer in healthy mind healthy body, and although I know that this alone does not get you pregnant I think that it helps to be able to relax and attempt to enjoy the trying to conceive process.

I’ve signed up, are you going to?

 

Claire xx

Cheese Stuffed Beef Burgers

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On Saturday I decided to make some home-made burgers and these were absolutely gorgeous! A quick meal to make for a night at home and I would definitely be making them again. I thought I would share the recipe for those of you who love a nice burger.

Serves 4

500g Fresh beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped thyme
55g Lancashire or feta cheese
4 burger buns
salt and pepper
Rocket leave to serve

Preheat the grill, mix the beef with the onion, garlic and thyme in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well until combined. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape each portion into patty shapes.

Make a indent in the four patties and fill with cheese, top with the remaining four patties. Press the edges together, smooth them with a palette knife to enclose the cheese completely.

Cook under the preheated grill for 5 – 6 minutes on each side. Serve in the toasted buns with rocket leaves.

They were amazing, quick and easy and I would tell everyone to try them at least once!

Claire xx

Pin-it-do-it Challenge

Inspired by Bex over on Olivedragonfly I decided to take part in a pin it do it challenge on Saturday whilst the hubby was at the football.

Olive Dragonfly Pin It Do It

Our niece will be making her First Holy Communion in May and I really wanted to get her a personalised card. I had seen these ones and had pinned them a while ago, I was just going to buy one but then I thought I really should just crack open my hundreds of craft things and make one myself. I loved making cards a few years ago but recently haven’t really been making any.

Source: r.ebay.com via Claire on Pinterest

Source: r.ebay.com via Claire on Pinterest

I then came up with my own card using ideas from both of the ones that I had pinned. It was really quite simple, I just needed some sparkly card, paper, corner cutter and stick on jewels.

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I designed the wording just using Microsoft word and some fonts that I had downloaded from Dafont, the font I used was called Sweetness, once I had decided on the front I also thought it would be really nice to make an insert to make the card look at little more professional. I downloaded a picture of a cross from Microsoft Clipart and found a verse online which I used on the insert.

 

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To also give a good finish I like to round the corners of the card, it is really easy to do with a corner cutter and I feel it just helps that little bit sometimes to make the card well finished.

 

On the front I decided to go plain, I struggled to find any pictures that I could download for free so I just went with the option of making a cross out of the jewels, my niece loves sparkly things so she will love them!

 

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All in all it took about 45 mins to make in total so a very quick thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.

I can’t wait to give it to her on her special day.

 

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Claire xx

Taking it a step further – Fertility Testing

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Written – Friday 8th March – 10.30pm

I have just spent a lovely few days with mum and sister, no thoughts of trying to get pregnant, though I have had quite a few butterflies today when I let myself think about what we need to do tomorrow.

What are we doing you might wonder? We are attending a fertility clinic for results of fertility testing we have just had done and to carry out a few more tests.

We have been trying to get pregnant for 10 cycles with no luck, not just hoping for the best trying actually timing, charting, using clear blue fertility monitor, various herbs and vitamins and do the funky business every other day for 10 cycles and still nothing.

No one every told me it could be this hard, the disappointment when each month it doesn’t work never gets any easier. At the start it was like, ‘oh it will happen soon’ but as the months go on and the hope of having a 2013 baby fades it gets harder and harder to wonder if in fact there is a problem and that’s why we haven’t fallen pregnant yet.

I turned 35 in February, an elusive age for those trying to conceive, you read the books and it’s all about how your fertility drops so much at 35. Though, is it like did I go to bed fertile at 34 and wake up at 35 with half the chance?? Needless to say I don’t believe that but I can’t help but get a little scared thinking maybe I’ve left it to late?

We had decided if I wasn’t pregnant by my 35th birthday we would take some tests so we did. 4 days after my birthday we went to a private clinic (we have not been classed as trying long enough on NHS) to do a basic fertility assessment, this involves bloods to test your ovarian reserve, sperm analysis and an ultrasound scan. Tomorrow we go back for the scan and our results and I’m a little scared if I’m being honest with you.

What if there is something wrong, what do we do then? What if there isn’t… What’s taking so long then? There are so many questions with not many answers for the control freak in me, this is not good!

I know that no matter what happens, I have the support of my amazing husband, who has taken all of this on his shoulders, been the strong one when I have not been able to be and kept my head above water many times. We have each other and hopefully in time we will have a family of our own in the meantime, this journey is making us stronger and more in love and together than I ever thought possible.

Praying the results are good, if not I will face it head on with the only person I can ever imagine standing side by side with.

Claire xx

How do you keep on going?

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How do you keep going when you feel like you keep hitting a brick wall? That’s what I seem to keep asking myself time and time again.

Here we are again, the beginning of another cycle. Not only do you have to deal with the disappointment that this brings, Mother Nature hits you with the hormones and emotions. Pain and tears don’t give you a reprieve on the whole thinking about it front that’s for sure. I’m quite lucky and don’t suffer to much pain, the odd cramp here and there, they probably hurt more psychologically though, each one triggers that sinking feeling that yet again this is not our month.

Gone are our hopes for a 2013 baby, this month was the last month that was possible and as much as I don’t like to admit it, that actually hurts quite a lot, when we started this journey we always believed whole heartily that we would have a baby in 2013 and now for that not to be happening is just another thing I’ll have to get over. There are so many things on this journey that I’ve just had to get over and it doesn’t get any easier that’s for sure.

Though there is nothing else for it, the only way to achieve what we want is to just keep on going, to approach each month with motivation and hope that it will be us soon. I just need a day to find it again.

Claire xx

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